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Rapid quantitative screening assay for SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies using HiBiT-tagged virus-like particles
Kei Miyakawa1 , Sundararaj Stanleyraj Jeremiah1 , Norihisa Ohtake2,3 , Satoko Matsunaga1 , Yutaro Yamaoka1,4 , Mayuko Nishi1 , Takeshi Morita1 , Ryo Saji5 , Mototsugu Nishii5 , Hirokazu Kimura6 , Hideki Hasegawa7 , Ichiro Takeuchi5 , Akihide Ryo1,2,*
1Department of Microbiology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Kanagawa 236- 0004, Japan
2Advanced Medical Research Center, Yokohama City University, Kanagawa 236-0004, Japan
3Bioscience Division, Reagent Development Department, Tosoh Corporation, Kanagawa 252- 1123, Japan
4Life Science Laboratory, Technology and Development Division, Kanto Chemical Co., Inc., Kanagawa 259-1146, Japan
5Department of Emergency Medicine, Yokohama City University Hospital, Kanagawa 236-0004, Japan
6School of Medical Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Gunma Paz University, Gunma 370- 0006, Japan
7Influenza Research Center, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo 208-0011, Japan
*Correspondence to:Akihide Ryo ,
J Mol Cell Biol, Volume 12, Issue 12, December 2020, 987-990,

Due to the unavailability of any specific countermeasure, the constantly spreading COVID-19 pandemic could only be partially and temporarily slowed down by implementing regional lockdowns that force people to stay at home and prevent their movement. With the progression of the pandemic, a considerable subset of the population would have acquired post-infection immunity and the tests that reveal the post-infection immune status of individuals are the need of the hour. A credible test, which accurately identifies the protected, can offer an immunity passport for the individual to be freed from the lockdown and resume routine activities without the fear of getting infected. At present, the semi-quantitative neutralization test (NT) and the quantitative plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) identifying the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) are the only foolproof methods available for this purpose. However, practical feasibility of these highly specific tests is weighed down by drawbacks such as low throughput, long turnaround time (TAT), and the need for a specialized laboratory setup with biosafety level 3 (BSL3) facilities to handle the live viruses used in these tests (Cao et al., 2020).