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Euro Surveill ; 26(44)2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504717


IntroductionNumerous CE-marked SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid diagnostic tests (Ag RDT) are offered in Europe, several of them with unconfirmed quality claims.AimWe performed an independent head-to-head evaluation of the sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDT offered in Germany.MethodsWe addressed the sensitivity of 122 Ag RDT in direct comparison using a common evaluation panel comprised of 50 specimens. Minimum sensitivity of 75% for panel specimens with a PCR quantification cycle (Cq) ≤ 25 was used to identify Ag RDT eligible for reimbursement in the German healthcare system.ResultsThe sensitivity of different SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDT varied over a wide range. The sensitivity limit of 75% for panel members with Cq ≤ 25 was met by 96 of the 122 tests evaluated; 26 tests exhibited lower sensitivity, few of which failed completely. Some RDT exhibited high sensitivity, e.g. 97.5 % for Cq < 30.ConclusionsThis comparative evaluation succeeded in distinguishing less sensitive from better performing Ag RDT. Most of the evaluated Ag RDT appeared to be suitable for fast identification of acute infections associated with high viral loads. Market access of SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDT should be based on minimal requirements for sensitivity and specificity.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antigens, Viral , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Germany , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity
Euro Surveill ; 26(44)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504591


IntroductionThe detection of SARS-CoV-2 with rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) has become an important tool to identify infected people and break infection chains. These RDT are usually based on antigen detection in a lateral flow approach.AimWe aimed to establish a comprehensive specimen panel for the decentralised technical evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid diagnostic tests.MethodsWhile for PCR diagnostics the validation of a PCR assay is well established, there is no common validation strategy for antigen tests, including RDT. In this proof-of-principle study we present the establishment of a panel of 50 pooled clinical specimens that cover a SARS-CoV-2 concentration range from 1.1 × 109 to 420 genome copies per mL of specimen. The panel was used to evaluate 31 RDT in up to six laboratories.ResultsOur results show that there is considerable variation in the detection limits and the clinical sensitivity of different RDT. We show that the best RDT can be applied to reliably identify infectious individuals who present with SARS-CoV-2 loads down to 106 genome copies per mL of specimen. For the identification of infected individuals with SARS-CoV-2 loads corresponding to less than 106 genome copies per mL, only three RDT showed a clinical sensitivity of more than 60%.ConclusionsSensitive RDT can be applied to identify infectious individuals with high viral loads but not to identify all infected individuals.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antigens, Viral , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity , Serologic Tests