Roche is partnering with Moderna Inc. to utilise the Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibody test in Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine research trials.
The partnership will facilitate the quantitative measurement of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and help to establish a correlation between vaccine-induced protection and levels of anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies. Significantly, Moderna’s vaccine triggers antibody response specifically to the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This follows the recent announcement that Roche has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibody test.
Measuring the quantitative levels of anti-RBD SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using Roche’s test will help Moderna to gain valuable insights into the correlation between protection from vaccination and antibody levels. This could play a role in assessing if, or when, an individual needs revaccination, or in helping to answer other clinically relevant questions.
To enhance the understanding of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 there would be a benefit in knowing the starting levels of antibodies a person has, prior to vaccination, in order to evaluate any change in antibody levels that the vaccine induces. This is particularly relevant in the case of antibodies directed against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, since these antibodies have been shown to have potent antiviral activity and correlate to potential immunity.1 Measuring antibody levels can also play a role in establishing vaccine efficacy in the prevention of infection and/or the development of severe COVID-19.2
The Roche partnership with Moderna started by using the Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 test for qualitative determination of anti-N SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. This has been part of Moderna’s vaccine trials for baselining and assessing natural infection in trial participants.
Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Diagnostics said: “Roche values the collaboration with Moderna, which has already included the successful use of our qualitative Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 test, targeting the nucleocapsid protein, in an earlier part of the studies. We are pleased to see that our quantitative Elecsys SARS-CoV-2 S test, which targets the spike protein, is now also being used as part of the Moderna vaccine trials, which could ultimately help to end this pandemic.”
 Masters PS (2006). The molecular biology of coronaviruses. Advances in Virus Research. Academic Press. 66: 193–292
 Hoffmann, Markus et al. (2020). Cell. 81(2):271-280.e8