Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is widely utilized in serologic assays, including COVID-19, for the detection and quantification of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. However, due to the limited stability of the diagnostic reagents (e.g., antigens serving as biorecognition elements) and biospecimens, temperature-controlled storage and handling conditions are critical. This limitation among others makes biodiagnostics in resource-limited settings, where refrigeration and electricity are inaccessible or unreliable, particularly challenging. In this work, metal–organic framework encapsulation is demonstrated as a simple and effective method to preserve the conformational epitopes of antigens immobilized on microtiter plate under non-refrigerated storage conditions. It is demonstrated that in situ growth of zeolitic imidazolate framework-90 (ZIF-90) renders excellent stability to surface-bound SARS-CoV-2 antigens, thereby maintaining the assay performance under elevated temperature (40 °C) for up to 4 weeks. As a complementary method, the preservation of plasma samples from COVID-19 patients using ZIF-90 encapsulation is also demonstrated. The energy-efficient approach demonstrated here will not only alleviate the financial burden associated with cold-chain transportation, but also improve the disease surveillance in resource-limited settings with more reliable clinical data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100410
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 22 2021


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays
  • metal–organic frameworks
  • preservation
  • resource-limited settings


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