Diagnostic Performance of Seven Commercial COVID-19 Serology Tests Available in South America

UDLA COVID-19 team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Although RT-qPCR remains the gold-standard for COVID-19 diagnosis, anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology-based assays have been widely used during 2020 as an alternative for individual and mass testing, and are currently used for seroprevalence studies.

OBJECTIVE: To study the clinical performance of seven commercial serological tests for COVID-19 diagnosis available in South America.

METHODS: We conducted a blind evaluation of five lateral-flow immunoassays (LFIA) and two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for detecting anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

RESULTS: We found no statistically significant differences among ELISA kits and LFIAs for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG sensitivity (values ranging from 76.4% to 83.5%) and specificity (100% for the seven serological assays). For anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM, the five LFIAs have a significantly higher sensitivity for samples collected 15 days after the first time RT-qPCR positive test, with values ranging from 47.1% to 88.2%; moreover, the specificity varied from 85% to 100%, but the only LFIA brand with a 100% specificity had the lowest sensitivity.

CONCLUSION: The diagnostic performance of the seven serological tests was acceptable for the seven brands tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG detection for seroprevalence screening purposes. On the other hand, our results show the lack of accuracy of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM detection in LFIAs as a tool for SARS-CoV-2 acute-phase infection diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Pages (from-to)787987
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19/diagnosis
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Serologic Tests/methods
  • South America


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