Serological testing for acute infection or prior exposure is critical for patient management and coordination of public health decisions during outbreaks. Current methods have several limitations, including variable performance, relatively low analytical and clinical sensitivity, and poor detection due to antigenic drift. Serological methods for SARS-CoV-2 detection for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suffer from several of these limitations and serves as a reminder of the critical need for new technologies. Here, we describe the use of ultrabright fluorescent reagents, Plasmonic Fluors, coupled with antigen arrays that address a subset of these limitations. We demonstrate its application using patient samples in SARS-CoV-2 serological assays. In our multiplexed assay, SARS-CoV-2 antigens were spotted into 48-plex arrays within a single well of a 96-well plate and used to evaluate remnant laboratory samples of SARS-CoV-2 positive patients. Signal-readout was performed with Auragent Bioscience's Empower microplate reader, and microarray analysis software. Sample volumes of 1 μL were used. High sensitivity of the Plasmonic Fluors combined with the array format enabled us to profile patient serological response to eight distinct SARS-CoV-2 antigens and evaluate responses to IgG, IgM, and IgA. Sensitivities for SARS-CoV-2 antigens during the symptomatic state ranged between 72.5 and 95.0%, specificity between 62.5 and 100%, and the resulting area under the curve values between 0.76 and 0.97. Together, these results highlight the increased sensitivity for low sample volumes and multiplex capability. These characteristics make Plasmonic Fluor-enhanced antigen arrays an attractive technology for serological studies for the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1468-1479
Number of pages12
JournalACS Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 12 2022


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • diagnostics
  • plasmonics
  • screening
  • serology


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