Team Lead: Rahul Roy

Serology assays that detect infection-specific antibodies in the serum of an individual are an effective surveillance method to understand the level of spread of infection in a population. SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission identified at 40-80% of asymptomatic cases makes it difficult to estimate the progression of pandemic without serology tests. Seroprevalence testing by protein/peptide-based ELISA is a cheap method to understand disease spread. Unfortunately, there has either been a shortage of available serology tests or they show poor performance.

Our team has developed two distinct variants of indirect ELISA tests to detect SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. The assay employs SARS-CoV-2 specific antigen or peptides for detection. The COVID-19 specific antibody in the blood of an individual binds with the antigens immobilized on the microwell and can be detected using antibody against human IgG/IgM antibodies. Our initial test results with COVID-19 antigen shows 100% specificity and 85% sensitivity (at 12-15 days after onset of symptoms). Our peptide-based ELISA assay also has 100% specificity albeit with poorer sensitivity (50%) but is half the cost of protein assays. We are improving both of these tests further and validating them with additional samples.

This method can be used to understand seroprevalence in a country like India where PCR-based assays are not feasible for all.

This project is a collaboration between IISc, Bangalore Medical College (BMC), St. John’s Research Institute (SJRI), and Tata Center for Interdisciplinary Sciences (TCIS). Initial support for this work has been provided by CapGemini through the Corporate Social Responsibility scheme and facilitated by the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs (ODAA) at IISc and the Principal Scientific Advisor’s office, GoI.


  • Team Leader: Rahul Roy (Chem Engg IISc,
  • Lead Developers: Priyanka V, Suraj Jagtap, Ratnasri K, Rakhi Sharma, Sunaina Banerjee, Satyaghosh Maurya, Rohit Dutta
  • Co-PI: Deepak Saini (MRDG IISc;, Dr. Dayanand Biligi (BMC,, Dr. Uma Chandra Mouli Natchu (SJRI,  and Kalyanwesar Mandal (TCIS;

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