The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is in urgent need of therapeutic options. High-throughput screening (HTS) offers an opportunity to rapidly identify such compounds. In this work, we have developed a homogeneous cell-based HTS system using AlphaLISA detection technology for the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (NP). Our assay measures both recombinant and endogenous NP from viral lysates and tissue culture supernatants (TCS) in a sandwich-based format using two monoclonal antibodies against the NP analyte. Viral NP was detected and quantified in both tissue culture supernatants and cell lysates, with large differences observed between 24 and 48 h of infection. We simulated viral infection by spiking recombinant NP into 384-well plates with live Vero-E6 cells and were able to detect the NP with high sensitivity and a large dynamic range. Antiviral agents that inhibit either viral cell entry or replication decrease the AlphaLISA NP signal. Thus, this assay can be used for high-throughput screening of small molecules and biologics in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
- high-throughput screening
- homogeneous assay