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Med Microbiol Immunol ; 211(2-3): 105-117, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702741


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.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 210(1): 65-72, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033378


Successful containment strategies for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will depend on reliable diagnostic assays. Point-of-care antigen tests (POCT) may provide an alternative to time-consuming PCR tests to rapidly screen for acute infections on site. Here, we evaluated two SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests: the STANDARD™ F COVID-19 Ag FIA (FIA) and the SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). For diagnostic assessment, we used a large set of PCR-positive and PCR-negative respiratory swabs from asymptomatic and symptomatic patients and health care workers in the setting of two University Hospitals in Munich, Germany, i.e. emergency rooms, patient care units or employee test centers. For FIA, overall clinical sensitivity and specificity were 45.4% (n = 381) and 97.8% (n = 360), respectively, and for RAT, 50.3% (n = 445) and 97.7% (n = 386), respectively. For primary diagnosis of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals, diagnostic sensitivities were 60.9% (FIA) (n = 189) and 64.5% (RAT) (n = 256). This questions these tests' utility for the reliable detection of acute SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, in particular in high-risk settings. We support the proposal that convincing high-quality outcome data on the impact of false-negative and false-positive antigen test results need to be obtained in a POCT setting. Moreover, the efficacy of alternative testing strategies to complement PCR assays must be evaluated by independent laboratories, prior to widespread implementation in national and international test strategies.

COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Adult , Antigens, Viral/blood , Child , Child, Preschool , False Negative Reactions , False Positive Reactions , Germany , Humans , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity