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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.01.14.22269064


The Lumipulse(R) G SARS-CoV-2 Ag assay performance was evaluated on prospectively collected saliva and nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) of recently ill in- and outpatients and according to the estimated viral load. Performances were calculated using RT-PCR positive NPS from patients with symptoms [≤] 7 days and RT-PCR negative NPS as gold standard. In addition, non-selected positive NPS were analyzed to assess the performances on various viral loads. This assay yielded a sensitivity of 93.1% on NPS and 71.4% on saliva for recently ill patients. For NPS with a viral load > 103 RNA copies/mL, sensitivity was 96.4%. A model established on our daily routine showed fluctuations of the performances depending on the epidemic trends but an overall good negative predictive value. Lumipulse(R) G SARS-CoV-2 assay yielded good performance for an automated antigen detection assay on NPS. Using it for the detection of recently ill patient or to screen high-risk patients could be an interesting alternative to the more expensive RT-PCR.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.07.17.21260679


IntroductionWe assessed the usefulness of SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR cycle thresholds (Ct) values trends produced by the LHUB-ULB (a consolidated microbiology laboratory located in Brussels, Belgium) for monitoring the epidemics dynamics at local and national levels and for improving forecasting models. MethodsSARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Ct values produced from April 1, 2020, to May 15, 2021, were compared with national COVID-19 confirmed cases notifications according to their geographical and time distribution. These Ct values were evaluated against both a phase diagram predicting the number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care and an age-structured model estimating COVID-19 prevalence in Belgium. ResultsOver 155,811 RT-PCR performed, 12,799 were positive and 7,910 Ct values were available for analysis. The 14-day median Ct values were negatively correlated with the 14-day mean daily positive tests with a lag of 17 days. In addition, the 14-day mean daily positive tests in LHUB-ULB were strongly correlated with the 14-day mean confirmed cases in the Brussels-Capital and in Belgium with coinciding start, peak and end of the different waves of the epidemic. Ct values decreased concurrently with the forecasted phase-shifts of the diagram. Similarly, the evolution of 14-day median Ct values was negatively correlated with daily estimated prevalence for all age-classes. ConclusionWe provide preliminary evidence that trends of Ct values can help to both follow and predict the epidemics trajectory at local and national levels, underlining that consolidated microbiology laboratories can act as epidemic sensors as they gather data that are representative of the geographical area they serve.

researchsquare; 2021.


Background: With the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an existing national laboratory based surveillance system was adapted to daily monitor the epidemiological situation of SARS-CoV-2 in the Belgium by following the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, the number of performed tests and the positivity ratio. We present these main indicators of the surveillance over a one-year period as well as the impact of the performance of the laboratories, regarding speed of processing the samples and reporting results, for surveillance.Methods: We describe the evolution of test capacity, testing strategy and the data collection methods during the first year of the epidemic in Belgium.Results: Between the 1th of March 2020 and the 28th of February 2021, 9,487,470 tests and 773,078 COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases were reported. Two epidemic waves occurred, with a peak in April and October 2020. The capacity and performance of the laboratories improved continuously during 2020 resulting in a high level performance. Since the end of November 2020 90 to 95% of test results are reported at the latest the day after sampling was performed.Conclusions: Thanks to the effort of all laboratories a performant exhaustive national laboratory based surveillance system to monitor the epidemiological situation of SARS-CoV-2 was set up in Belgium in 2020. On top of expanding the number of laboratories performing diagnostics and significantly increasing the test capacity in Belgium, turnaround times between sampling and testing as well as reporting were optimized over the first year of this pandemic.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.24.20077776


Introduction: COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip, an immunochromatographic (ICT) assay for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen on nasopharyngeal specimen, has been developed to identify positive COVID-19 patients allowing prompt clinical and quarantine decisions. In this Original Research article, we describe the conception, the analytical and clinical performances as well as the risk management of implementing the COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip in a diagnostic decision algorithm. Materials and Methods: Development of the COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip resulted in a ready-to-use ICT assay based on a membrane technology with colloidal gold nanoparticles using monoclonal antibodies directed against the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 highly conserved nucleoprotein antigen. Four hundred observations were recorded for the analytical performance study and thirty tests were analysed for the cross-reactivity study. The clinical performance study was performed in a retrospective multi-centric evaluation on aliquots of 328 nasopharyngeal samples. COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip results were compared with qRT-PCR as golden standard for COVID-19 diagnostics. Results: In the analytical performance study, the reproducibility showed a between-observer disagreement of 1.7%, a robustness of 98%, an overall satisfying user friendliness and no cross-reactivity with other virus-infected nasopharyngeal samples. In the clinical performance study performed in three different clinical laboratories we found an overall sensitivity and specificity of 57.6% and 99.5% respectively with an accuracy of 82.6%. The cut-off of the assay was found at Ct<22. User-friendliness analysis and risk management assessment through Ishikawa diagram demonstrate that COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip may be implemented in clinical laboratories according to biosafety recommendations. Conclusion: The COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip represents a promising rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen assay for the first-line diagnosis of COVID-19 in 15 minutes. Its role in the proposed diagnostic algorithm is complementary to the currently-used molecular techniques.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Tumor Virus Infections , COVID-19