Efforts to control SARS-CoV-2 have been challenged by the emergence of variant strains that have important implications for clinical and epidemiological decision making. Four variants of concern (VOCs) have been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), namely, B.1.617.2 (delta), B.1.1.7 (alpha), B.1.351 (beta), and P.1 (gamma), although the last three have been downgraded to variants being monitored (VBMs). VOCs and VBMs have shown increased transmissibility and/or disease severity, resistance to convalescent SARS-CoV-2 immunity and antibody therapeutics, and the potential to evade diagnostic detection. Methods are needed for point-of-care (POC) testing to rapidly identify these variants, protect vulnerable populations, and improve surveillance. Antigen-detection rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) are ideal for POC use, but Ag-RDTs that recognize specific variants have not yet been implemented. Here, we describe a mAb (2E8) that is specific for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein N501 residue. The 2E8 mAb can distinguish the delta VOC from variants with the N501Y meta-signature, which is characterized by convergent mutations that contribute to increased virulence and evasion of host immunity. Among the N501Y-containing mutants formerly designated as VOCs (alpha, beta, and gamma), a previously described mAb, CB6, can distinguish beta from alpha and gamma. When used in a sandwich ELISA, these mAbs sort these important SARS-CoV-2 variants into three diagnostic categories, namely, (1) delta, (2) alpha or gamma, and (3) beta. As delta is currently the predominant variant globally, they will be useful for POC testing to identify N501Y meta-signature variants, protect individuals in high-risk settings, and help detect epidemiological shifts among SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Recommended CitationPuligedda, Rama Devudu; Al-Saleem, Fetweh H; Wirblich, Christoph; Kattala, Chandana Devi; Jović, Marko; Geiszler, Laura; Devabhaktuni, Himani; Feuerstein, Giora Z; Schnell, Matthias J.; Sack, Markus; Livornese, Lawrence L; and Dessain, Scott K, "A Strategy to Detect Emerging Non-Delta SARS-CoV-2 Variants with a Monoclonal Antibody Specific for the N501 Spike Residue" (2021). Department of Microbiology and Immunology Faculty Papers. Paper 135.
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