When I look at the specification sheets for many of today's serology tests like the new Roche test or the Abbott test, they use a nucleocapsid antigen in the test, looking for anti-nucleocapsid antibodies. Given that these tests seem to have high sensitivities toward past infection, it suggests that recovered patients seem to reliably generate an immune response to the nucleocapsid.
At the same time, a lot of the research into vaccines focuses on the spike protein: Moderna is developing a vaccine based on an mRNA coding for the spike protein, CanSino and Oxford combine an adenovirus carrier with a SARS-CoV-2 spike, and so on. I'm having trouble finding any vaccines that target the nucleocapsid peptide.
I'm having trouble understanding this difference. Is it the case that recovered patients reliably produce antibodies to both viral components, but the nucleocapsid is better for testing due to cross-reactivity or other concerns? Or does a natural immune response target the nucleocapsid, while scientists think that the spike is a much better target because it's directly expressed on the cell surface or for some other reason?