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Microbiol Spectr ; 11(3): e0510122, 2023 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2314145


The onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in hundreds of in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs) coming to market, facilitated by regulatory authorities allowing "emergency use" without a comprehensive evaluation of performance. The World Health Organization (WHO) released target product profiles (TPPs) specifying acceptable performance characteristics for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) assay devices. We evaluated 26 rapid diagnostic tests and 9 enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for anti-SARS-CoV-2, suitable for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), against these TPPs and other performance characteristics. The sensitivity and specificity ranged from 60.1 to 100% and 56.0 to 100%, respectively. Five of 35 test kits reported no false reactivity for 55 samples with potentially cross-reacting substances. Six test kits reported no false reactivity for 35 samples containing interfering substances, and only one test reported no false reactivity with samples positive for other coronaviruses (not SARS-CoV-2). This study demonstrates that a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of test kits against defined specifications is essential for the selection of test kits, especially in a pandemic setting. IMPORTANCE The markets have been flooded with hundreds of SARS-CoV-2 serology tests, and although there are many published reports on their performance, comparative reports are far fewer and tend to be limited to only a few tests. In this report, we comparatively assessed 35 rapid diagnostic tests or microtiter plate enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) using a large set of samples from individuals with a history of mild to moderate COVID-19, commensurate with the target population for serosurveillance, which included serum samples from individuals previously infected, at undetermined time periods, with other seasonal human coronaviruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and SARS-CoV-1. The significant heterogeneity in their performances, with only a few tests meeting WHO target product profile performance requirements, highlights the importance of independent comparative assessments to inform the use and procurement of these tests for both diagnostics and epidemiological investigations.

COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , COVID-19 Testing , Antibodies, Viral
Nat Genet ; 55(1): 26-33, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185946


The first step in SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance is testing to identify people who are infected. However, global testing rates are falling as we emerge from the acute health emergency and remain low in many low- and middle-income countries (mean = 27 tests per 100,000 people per day). We simulated COVID-19 epidemics in a prototypical low- and middle-income country to investigate how testing rates, sampling strategies and sequencing proportions jointly impact surveillance outcomes, and showed that low testing rates and spatiotemporal biases delay time to detection of new variants by weeks to months and can lead to unreliable estimates of variant prevalence, even when the proportion of samples sequenced is increased. Accordingly, investments in wider access to diagnostics to support testing rates of approximately 100 tests per 100,000 people per day could enable more timely detection of new variants and reliable estimates of variant prevalence. The performance of global SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance programs is fundamentally limited by access to diagnostic testing.

COVID-19 , Epidemics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , Genomics , Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures , COVID-19 Testing
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 7003, 2022 Nov 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2116500


Genomic sequencing is essential to track the evolution and spread of SARS-CoV-2, optimize molecular tests, treatments, vaccines, and guide public health responses. To investigate the global SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance, we used sequences shared via GISAID to estimate the impact of sequencing intensity and turnaround times on variant detection in 189 countries. In the first two years of the pandemic, 78% of high-income countries sequenced >0.5% of their COVID-19 cases, while 42% of low- and middle-income countries reached that mark. Around 25% of the genomes from high income countries were submitted within 21 days, a pattern observed in 5% of the genomes from low- and middle-income countries. We found that sequencing around 0.5% of the cases, with a turnaround time <21 days, could provide a benchmark for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance. Socioeconomic inequalities undermine the global pandemic preparedness, and efforts must be made to support low- and middle-income countries improve their local sequencing capacity.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Genomics