The importance of determining SARS-CoV-2 N-Ag serodiagnostics for the management of COVID-19 pneumonia in hospital settings

Lebedin YuS1, Lyang OV2, Galstyan AG, Panteleeva AV1, Belousov VV3, Rebrikov DV3
About authors

1 XEMA Co. Ltd., Moscow, Russia

2 Federal Center for Brain Research and Neurotechnologies of FMBA, Moscow, Russia

3 Center for Precision Genome Editing and Genetic Technologies for Biomedicine, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia

About paper

Funding: this work was partially supported by a grant № 075-15-2019-1789 from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation allocated to the Center for Precision Genome Editing and Genetic Technologies for Biomedicine.

Acknowledgement: we acknowledge Natalia Usman for helpful discussions

Author contribution: Lebedin YS designed the study, performed the sampling, conducted molecular studies and drafted the manuscript, Lyang OV and Galstyan AG performed the clinical examinations and sampling, conducted biochemical and molecular studies, Panteleeva AV conducted molecular studies and drafted the manuscript, Belousov VV and Rebrikov DV designed the study and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards: the study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Local Ethics Committee at the Pirogov Russian State Medical University (Protocol № 2020/07 dated March 16, 2020,); the study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Received: 2021-02-11 Accepted: 2021-02-24 Published online: 2021-02-28

A new coronavirus infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which appeared in December 2019, has claimed the lives of 2.5 million people in almost a year. The high contagiousness of this virus has led to its wide and rapid spread around the world. As of February 2021, the total number of cases is 111 million people; more than 4 million cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been registered in the Russian Federation. To successfully combat the emerging pandemic, it is necessary to quickly diagnose the disease at an early stage, which will prevent the further spread of this virus and prescribe the necessary treatment on time. The aim of the work was to evaluate the use of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen (N-Ag) and respective antibodies as diagnostic markers in pneumonia patients. The study was conducted at the height of COVID-19 pandemic in Moscow, Russia. It included 425 emergency patients with clinical signs of COVID-19 pneumonia, of which 280 (66%) were positive for either serum N-Ag and/or its respective antibodies. We demonstrate the total prevalence of N-Ag seroconversion in SARS-CoV-2associated pneumonia patients within 3–5 days after hospital admission. The results indicate high feasibility of SARS-CoV-2 serodiagnostics in emergency patients.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, nucleocapsid antigen, seroconversion