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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296620


Background: Rapid antigen testing is widely used as a way of scaling up population-level testing. To better inform antigen test deployment in Australia, we evaluated 22 commercially available antigen tests, including an assessment of culture infectivity. Methods Analytical sensitivity was evaluated against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta), reported as TCID50/mL, cycle threshold (Ct) value and viral load (RNA copies/mL). Specificity was assessed against non-SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Clinical sensitivity and correlation with cell culture infectivity was assessed using the Abbott PanBio™ COVID-19 Ag test. Results Nineteen kits consistently detected SARS-CoV-2 antigen equivalent to 1.3x10

Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 9: 100115, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117260


BACKGROUND: In Australia, COVID-19 diagnosis relies on RT-PCR testing which is relatively costly and time-consuming. To date, few studies have assessed the performance and implementation of rapid antigen-based SARS-CoV-2 testing in a setting with a low prevalence of COVID-19 infections, such as Australia. METHODS: This study recruited participants presenting for COVID-19 testing at three Melbourne metropolitan hospitals during a period of low COVID-19 prevalence. The Abbott PanBioTM COVID-19 Ag point-of-care test was performed alongside RT-PCR. In addition, participants with COVID-19 notified to the Victorian Government were invited to provide additional swabs to aid validation. Implementation challenges were also documented. FINDINGS: The specificity of the Abbott PanBioTM COVID-19 Ag test was 99.96% (95% CI 99.73 - 100%). Sensitivity amongst participants with RT-PCR-confirmed infection was dependent upon the duration of symptoms reported, ranging from 77.3% (duration 1 to 33 days) to 100% in those within seven days of symptom onset. A range of implementation challenges were identified which may inform future COVID-19 testing strategies in a low prevalence setting. INTERPRETATION: Given the high specificity, antigen-based tests may be most useful in rapidly triaging public health and hospital resources while expediting confirmatory RT-PCR testing. Considering the limitations in test sensitivity and the potential for rapid transmission in susceptible populations, particularly in hospital settings, careful consideration is required for implementation of antigen testing in a low prevalence setting. FUNDING: This work was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. The funder was not involved in data analysis or manuscript preparation.