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EBioMedicine ; 68: 103414, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258361


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests are used for population surveillance and might have a future role in individual risk assessment. Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) can deliver results rapidly and at scale, but have widely varying accuracy. METHODS: In a laboratory setting, we performed head-to-head comparisons of four LFIAs: the Rapid Test Consortium's AbC-19TM Rapid Test, OrientGene COVID IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette, SureScreen COVID-19 Rapid Test Cassette, and Biomerica COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test. We analysed blood samples from 2,847 key workers and 1,995 pre-pandemic blood donors with all four devices. FINDINGS: We observed a clear trade-off between sensitivity and specificity: the IgG band of the SureScreen device and the AbC-19TM device had higher specificities but OrientGene and Biomerica higher sensitivities. Based on analysis of pre-pandemic samples, SureScreen IgG band had the highest specificity (98.9%, 95% confidence interval 98.3 to 99.3%), which translated to the highest positive predictive value across any pre-test probability: for example, 95.1% (95% uncertainty interval 92.6, 96.8%) at 20% pre-test probability. All four devices showed higher sensitivity at higher antibody concentrations ("spectrum effects"), but the extent of this varied by device. INTERPRETATION: The estimates of sensitivity and specificity can be used to adjust for test error rates when using these devices to estimate the prevalence of antibody. If tests were used to determine whether an individual has SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, in an example scenario in which 20% of individuals have antibodies we estimate around 5% of positive results on the most specific device would be false positives. FUNDING: Public Health England.

Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Early Diagnosis , Humans , Immunoassay , Pandemics , Population Surveillance , Prospective Studies , Sensitivity and Specificity
Euro Surveill ; 26(12)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1154193


Sera were collected from 185 adults aged ≥ 70 years in London to evaluate the immune response to COVID-19 vaccines. A single dose of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine resulted in > 94% seropositivity after 3 weeks in naïve individuals using the Roche Spike antibody assay, while two doses produced very high spike antibody levels, significantly higher than convalescent sera from mild-to-moderate PCR-confirmed adult cases. Our findings support the United Kingdom's approach of prioritising the first dose and delaying the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Humans , London
BMJ ; 371: m4262, 2020 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-919183


OBJECTIVE: To assess the accuracy of the AbC-19 Rapid Test lateral flow immunoassay for the detection of previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. DESIGN: Test accuracy study. SETTING: Laboratory based evaluation. PARTICIPANTS: 2847 key workers (healthcare staff, fire and rescue officers, and police officers) in England in June 2020 (268 with a previous polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive result (median 63 days previously), 2579 with unknown previous infection status); and 1995 pre-pandemic blood donors. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: AbC-19 sensitivity and specificity, estimated using known negative (pre-pandemic) and known positive (PCR confirmed) samples as reference standards and secondly using the Roche Elecsys anti-nucleoprotein assay, a highly sensitive laboratory immunoassay, as a reference standard in samples from key workers. RESULTS: Test result bands were often weak, with positive/negative discordance by three trained laboratory staff for 3.9% of devices. Using consensus readings, for known positive and negative samples sensitivity was 92.5% (95% confidence interval 88.8% to 95.1%) and specificity was 97.9% (97.2% to 98.4%). Using an immunoassay reference standard, sensitivity was 94.2% (90.7% to 96.5%) among PCR confirmed cases but 84.7% (80.6% to 88.1%) among other people with antibodies. This is consistent with AbC-19 being more sensitive when antibody concentrations are higher, as people with PCR confirmation tended to have more severe disease whereas only 62% (218/354) of seropositive participants had had symptoms. If 1 million key workers were tested with AbC-19 and 10% had actually been previously infected, 84 700 true positive and 18 900 false positive results would be projected. The probability that a positive result was correct would be 81.7% (76.8% to 85.8%). CONCLUSIONS: AbC-19 sensitivity was lower among unselected populations than among PCR confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2, highlighting the scope for overestimation of assay performance in studies involving only PCR confirmed cases, owing to "spectrum bias." Assuming that 10% of the tested population have had SARS-CoV-2 infection, around one in five key workers testing positive with AbC-19 would be false positives. STUDY REGISTRATION: ISRCTN 56609224.

Clinical Laboratory Techniques/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Immunoassay/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Female , Firefighters , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Police , Predictive Value of Tests , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , United Kingdom