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1.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 2022 Feb 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702741

ABSTRACT

Since autumn 2020, rapid antigen tests (RATs) have been implemented in several countries as an important pillar of the national testing strategy to rapidly screen for infections on site during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The current surge in infection rates around the globe is driven by the variant of concern (VoC) omicron (B.1.1.529). Here, we evaluated the performance of nine SARS-CoV-2 RATs in a single-centre laboratory study. We examined a total of 115 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative and 166 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive respiratory swab samples (101 omicron, 65 delta (B.1.617.2)) collected from October 2021 until January 2022 as well as cell culture-expanded clinical isolates of both VoCs. In an assessment of the analytical sensitivity in clinical specimen, the 50% limit of detection (LoD50) ranged from 1.77 × 106 to 7.03 × 107 RNA copies subjected to the RAT for omicron compared to 1.32 × 105 to 2.05 × 106 for delta. To score positive in these point-of-care tests, up to 10-fold (LoD50) or 101-fold (LoD95) higher virus loads were required for omicron- compared to delta-containing samples. The rates of true positive test results for omicron samples in the highest virus load category (Ct values < 25) ranged between 31.4 and 77.8%, while they dropped to 0-8.3% for samples with intermediate Ct values (25-30). Of note, testing of expanded virus stocks suggested a comparable RAT sensitivity of both VoCs, questioning the predictive value of this type of in vitro-studies for clinical performance. Given their importance for national test strategies in the current omicron wave, awareness must be increased for the reduced detection rate of omicron infections by RATs and a short list of suitable RATs that fulfill the minimal requirements of performance should be rapidly disclosed.

2.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 211(1): 71-77, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1640849

ABSTRACT

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified B.1.1.529 as a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant of concern (VoC), named omicron. Spike-gene dropouts in conventional SARS-CoV-2 PCR systems have been reported over the last weeks as indirect diagnostic evidence for the identification of omicron. Here, we report the combination of PCRs specific for heavily mutated sites in the spike gene and nanopore-based full-length genome sequencing for the rapid and sensitive identification of the first four COVID-19 patients diagnosed in Germany to be infected with omicron on November 28, 2021. This study will assist the unambiguous laboratory-based diagnosis and global surveillance for this highly contagious VoC with an unprecedented degree of humoral immune escape. Moreover, we propose that specialized diagnostic laboratories should continuously update their assays for variant-specific PCRs in the spike gene of SARS-CoV-2 to readily detect and diagnose emerging variants of interest and VoCs. The combination with established nanopore sequencing procedures allows both the rapid confirmation by whole genome sequencing as well as the sensitive identification of newly emerging variants of this pandemic ß-coronavirus in years to come.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nanopore Sequencing , Humans , Mutation , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 210(5-6): 263-275, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366361

ABSTRACT

A versatile portfolio of diagnostic tests is essential for the containment of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Besides nucleic acid-based test systems and point-of-care (POCT) antigen (Ag) tests, quantitative, laboratory-based nucleocapsid Ag tests for SARS-CoV-2 have recently been launched. Here, we evaluated four commercial Ag tests on automated platforms and one POCT to detect SARS-CoV-2. We evaluated PCR-positive (n = 107) and PCR-negative (n = 303) respiratory swabs from asymptomatic and symptomatic patients at the end of the second pandemic wave in Germany (February-March 2021) as well as clinical isolates EU1 (B.1.117), variant of concern (VOC) Alpha (B.1.1.7) or Beta (B.1.351), which had been expanded in a biosafety level 3 laboratory. The specificities of automated SARS-CoV-2 Ag tests ranged between 97.0 and 99.7% (Lumipulse G SARS-CoV-2 Ag (Fujirebio): 97.03%, Elecsys SARS-CoV-2 Ag (Roche Diagnostics): 97.69%; LIAISON® SARS-CoV-2 Ag (Diasorin) and SARS-CoV-2 Ag ELISA (Euroimmun): 99.67%). In this study cohort of hospitalized patients, the clinical sensitivities of tests were low, ranging from 17.76 to 52.34%, and analytical sensitivities ranged from 420,000 to 25,000,000 Geq/ml. In comparison, the detection limit of the Roche Rapid Ag Test (RAT) was 9,300,000 Geq/ml, detecting 23.58% of respiratory samples. Receiver-operating-characteristics (ROCs) and Youden's index analyses were performed to further characterize the assays' overall performance and determine optimal assay cutoffs for sensitivity and specificity. VOCs carrying up to four amino acid mutations in nucleocapsid were detected by all five assays with characteristics comparable to non-VOCs. In summary, automated, quantitative SARS-CoV-2 Ag tests show variable performance and are not necessarily superior to a standard POCT. The efficacy of any alternative testing strategies to complement nucleic acid-based assays must be carefully evaluated by independent laboratories prior to widespread implementation.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Automation/economics , Automation/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/economics , Cohort Studies , False Negative Reactions , Germany , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity
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