may 2020 • Science Immunology

Serology for SARS-CoV-2: Apprehensions, opportunities, and the path forward

Bryant Juliet E., Azman A. S., Ferrari M. J.

DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abc6347

Content curated by::David Rodrigues

Key message

Sublinham-se os perigos do uso de testes serológicos atuais para avaliações de risco individual (particularmente em contexto de baixa prevalência da doença), mas destaca-se o potencial na utilização de testes sorológicos a nível populacional (ou seja, sero-vigilância ou soroepidemiologia) - mesmo com ensaios de sensibilidade / especificidade moderada, para adequação de políticas de saúde pública úteis.


Making data-driven decisions on how to fight the COVID-19 pandemic without completely shutting down economies will require better tools to understand the extent of transmission. The current crisis presents an opportunity to rethink how health systems generate and use surveillance data, and how to harness the power of serological tests and seroepidemiology. The world’s health systems are rushing to develop and implement testing for clinical use, evaluations of social policy, and quantification of population-level risk, which has brought into sharp focus the challenges facing surveillance programs throughout the world. There is an urgent need to monitor variations in disease transmission across populations and geographies in near real-time. Rapid detection of active cases and contact tracing – using direct tests for presence of the virus (acute phase diagnosis) – is the cornerstone of containment strategies. For later phases of pandemic control – when the key questions involve when, where, and how to lift confinement measures, and relax social distancing constraints – serological testing to measure antibody responses to the virus becomes paramount to refine understanding of transmission intensity and population susceptibility