Detecting Immunity to COVID just got a Whole Lot Easier

Enable Biosciences Reports Easier and Accurate SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody Assay using Dried Blood Spot Samples

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Aug. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Scientists at Enable Biosciences report a novel method to easily, rapidly and accurately detect neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 from dried blood spots, named "SONIA" (Split-Oligonucleotide Neighboring Inhibition Assay). Published in Nature Communications, the peer-reviewed article was co-authored with an international team of scientists from the California Department of Public Health, Vitalant Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, Oregon Health & Science University, Swiss Red Cross, University of Basel (Swizerland), and Cerus Corporation. (

Neutralizing antibodies are a special class of antibodies that focus on disrupting virus activity. They are critically important in determining immunity to infection, supporting vaccine development and efficacy/effectiveness testing and in quality control for blood-based therapeutics like convalescent plasma. For viral diseases like COVID, neutralizing antibodies defend against future infection and are a widely-used marker of protective immunity from vaccination or past infection. SONIA improves upon the existing gold-standard assay for neutralizing antibodies, the Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test (PRNT), by eliminating the need for dangerous live viruses. SONIA uses Enable Biosciences’ patented DNA-barcoding technology to speed up testing while achieving excellent accuracy. SONIA increases easy access to testing by being compatible with both conveniently-collected dried blood spots and regular blood samples. SONIA showed up to 97% sensitivity and 100% specificity in comparison to PRNT.

"Importantly, SONIA detects neutralizing antibodies against different viral targets all at once, which PRNT can’t," said Jason Tsai, PhD, CTO of Enable Biosciences and corresponding author of the article. "Testing for neutralizing antibodies versus multiple variants simultaneously provides clinicians and public health officers invaluable insight into waning immunity to all these variants and can uniquely empower targeted recommendations for better booster timing or updated variant-specific vaccinations," explained David Seftel, MD, MBA, Enable CEO/CMO.

SONIA is currently used by the CDC-funded California Department of Public Health’s CALSCOPE program to help determine correlates of immunity to COVID infection. While the version of SONIA described in Nature Communications is designed for COVID neutralizing antibodies, the patented technology can be utilized to accurately assess immunity to any infection, including monkeypox and smallpox.

SONIA testing services are available worldwide for public health, vaccine development and/or research purposes via Enable Biosciences’ CAP and CLIA certified laboratories.

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Peter Robinson

SOURCE Enable Biosciences Inc