BACKGROUND: Point-of-care tests (POCT) are promising tools to detect SARS-CoV-2 in specific settings. Initial reports suggest the ID NOW™ COVID-19 assay (Abbott Diagnostics Inc, USA) is less sensitive than standard real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays. This has raised concern over false negatives in SARS-CoV-2 POCT. OBJECTIVES: We compared the performance of the ID NOW™ COVID-19 assay to our in-house rRT-PCR assay to assess whether dry swabs used in ID NOW™ testing could be stored in transport media and be re-tested by rRT-PCR for redundancy and to provide material for further investigation. METHODS: Paired respiratory swabs collected from patients at three acute care hospitals were used. One swab in transport media (McMaster Molecular Media (MMM)) was tested for SARS-CoV-2 by a laboratory-developed two-target rRT-PCR assay. The second was stored dry in a sterile container and tested by the ID NOW™ COVID-19 assay. Following ID NOW™ testing, dry swabs were stored in MMM for up to 48 h and re-tested by rRT-PCR. Serially diluted SARS-CoV-2 particles were used to assess the impact of heat inactivation and storage time. RESULTS: Respiratory swabs (n = 343) from 179 individuals were included. Using rRT-PCR results as the comparator, the ID NOW™ COVID-19 assay had positive (PPA) and negative (NPA) percent agreements of 87.0% (95% CI:0.74-0.94) and 99.7% (95% CI:0.98-0.99). Re-tested swabs placed in MMM following ID NOW testing had PPA and NPA of 88.8% (95% CI:0.76-0.95) and 99.7% (95% CI:0.98-0.99), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Storing spent dry swabs in transport media for redundancy rRT-PCR testing is a potential approach to address possible false negatives with the ID NOW™ COVID-19 assay.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Point-of-Care Testing , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling
Coronavirus disease (COVID) serological tests are essential to determine the overall seroprevalence of a population and to facilitate exposure estimates within that population. We performed a head-to-head assessment of enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) and point-of-care lateral flow assays (POCTs) to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies. Demographics, symptoms, comorbidities, treatment, and mortality of patients whose sera were used were also reviewed. Six EIAs (Abbott, Affinity, Bio-Rad, DiaSorin, Euroimmun, and Roche) and six POCTs (BTNX, Biolidics, Deep Blue, Genrui, Getein BioTech, and Innovita) were evaluated for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in known COVID-19-infected individuals. Sensitivity of EIAs ranged from 50 to 100%, with only four assays having overall sensitivities of >95% after 21 days after symptom onset. Notably, cross-reactivity with other respiratory viruses (parainfluenza virus [PIV-4] [n = 5], human metapneumovirus [hMPV] [n = 3], rhinovirus/enterovirus [n = 1], CoV-229E [n = 2], CoV-NL63 [n = 2], and CoV-OC43 [n = 2]) was observed; however, overall specificity of EIAs was good (92 to 100%; all but one assay had specificity above 95%). POCTs were 0 to 100% sensitive >21 days after onset, with specificity ranging from 96 to 100%. However, many POCTs had faint banding and were often difficult to interpret. Serology assays can detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as early as 10 days after symptom onset. Serology assays vary in their sensitivity based on the marker (IgA/IgM versus IgG versus total) and by manufacturer; however, overall only 4 EIAs and 4 POCTs had sensitivities of >95% >21 days after symptom onset. Cross-reactivity with other seasonal coronaviruses is of concern. Serology assays should not be used for the diagnosis of acute infection but rather in carefully designed serosurveys to facilitate understanding of seroprevalence in a population and to identify previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2.