Development of Serological Assays to study antibody responses in Ghanaian COVID-19 Patients

Rayner 2

Photo from right: Dr. Aniefiouk Udoakang (Visiting Post Doc), Ms. Claudia Ayigba (PhD Student), Dr. Aniefiouk Udoakang (Visiting Post Doc), Mr. Sylvester Languon (Research Assistant) and Ms. Nancy Nyakoe (PhD Student)

Development of Serological Assays to study antibody responses in Ghanaian COVID-19 Patients*

Dr Peter Kojo Quashie (West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, University of Ghana, Ghana) & Professor Julian Rayner (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research)

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that SARS-CoV-2 is likely to linger in the population. That means that countries like Ghana need cheaper means to either detect infected citizens or be able to screen for previously exposed individuals. There may also be a need to identify the proportion of COVID_19 patients who will develop antibody responses, how quickly these responses will develop, and whether any patients have neutralising antibodies. Here we aim to develop two serological assays which will allow detection of antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2; the causative organism of COVID-19. We will use these assays to determine how quickly Ghanaian patients develop antibody responses against the virus and whether patient plasma containing antibody could kill the virus. These assays will be used to screen sera/plasma from patients whose current or previous COVID-19 status is known; this will inform on the utility of these assays for detection of prior or ongoing infection during this pandemic. If validated, we will use these assays in future studies to screen health workers for exposure to SARS-CoV-2. This work will provide key information and reagents for Ghanaian research efforts against COVID-19.

*This project is supported by a Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund COVID-19 Emergency Award

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