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Access Microbiol ; 4(4): 000346, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1932004

ABSTRACT

Background: Australia's response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic relies on widespread availability of rapid, accurate testing and reporting of results to facilitate contact tracing. The extensive geographical area of Australia presents a logistical challenge, with many of the population located distant from a laboratory capable of robust severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection. A strategy to address this is the deployment of a mobile facility utilizing novel diagnostic platforms. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a fully contained transportable SARS-CoV-2 testing laboratory using a range of rapid point-of-care tests. Method: A 20 ft (6.1 m) shipping container was refurbished (GeneWorks, Adelaide, South Australia) with climate controls, laboratory benches, hand-wash station and a class II biosafety cabinet. Portable marquees situated adjacent to the container served as stations for registration, sample acquisition and personal protective equipment for staff. Specimens were collected and tested on-site utilizing either the Abbott ID NOW or Abbott Panbio rapid tests. SARS-CoV-2 positive results from the rapid platforms or any participants reporting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 were tested on-site by GeneXpert Xpress RT-PCR. All samples were tested in parallel with a standard-of-care RT-PCR test (Panther Fusion SARS-CoV-2 assay) performed at the public health reference laboratory. In-laboratory environmental conditions and data management-related factors were also recorded. Results: Over a 3 week period, 415 participants were recruited for point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 testing. From time of enrolment, the median result turnaround time was 26 min for the Abbott ID NOW, 32 min for the Abbott Panbio and 75 min for the Xpert Xpress. The environmental conditions of the refurbished shipping container were found to be suitable for all platforms tested, although humidity may have produced condensation within the container. Available software enabled turnaround times to be recorded, although technical malfunction resulted in incomplete data capture. Conclusion: Transportable container laboratories can enable rapid COVID-19 results at the point of care and may be useful during outbreak settings, particularly in environments that are physically distant from centralized laboratories. They may also be appropriate in resource-limited settings. The results of this pilot study confirm feasibility, although larger trials to validate individual rapid point-of-care testing platforms in this environment are required.

4.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 9: 100115, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117260

ABSTRACT

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.

7.
Med J Aust ; 213(6): 276-279, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696938

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To design and evaluate 3D-printed nasal swabs for collection of samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing. DESIGN: An iterative design process was employed. Laboratory evaluation included in vitro assessment of mock nasopharyngeal samples spiked with two different concentrations of gamma-irradiated SARS-CoV-2. A prospective clinical study compared SARS-CoV-2 and human cellular material recovery by 3D-printed swabs and standard nasopharyngeal swabs. SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Royal Melbourne Hospital, May 2020. Participants in the clinical evaluation were 50 hospital staff members attending a COVID-19 screening clinic and two inpatients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. INTERVENTION: In the clinical evaluation, a flocked nasopharyngeal swab sample was collected with the Copan ESwab and a mid-nasal sample from the other nostril was collected with the 3D-printed swab. RESULTS: In the laboratory evaluation, qualitative agreement with regard to SARS-CoV-2 detection in mock samples collected with 3D-printed swabs and two standard swabs was complete. In the clinical evaluation, qualitative agreement with regard to RNase P detection (a surrogate measure of adequate collection of human cellular material) in samples collected from 50 hospital staff members with standard and 3D-printed swabs was complete. Qualitative agreement with regard to SARS-CoV-2 detection in three pairs of 3D-printed mid-nasal and standard swab samples from two inpatients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 was also complete. CONCLUSIONS: Using 3D-printed swabs to collect nasal samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing is feasible, acceptable to patients and health carers, and convenient.


Subject(s)
Clinical Laboratory Techniques/instrumentation , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Diagnostic Techniques, Respiratory System/instrumentation , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Printing, Three-Dimensional , Adult , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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