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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310909

ABSTRACT

Background: The Innova SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid lateral flow test (LFT) offers fast detection of COVID-19 cases. This study assesses the performance of LFT in the general population attending asymptomatic testing centres.Methods: Observational cohort study to compare LFT with reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) results based on two self-administrated swab samples per participant taken within minutes among individuals declaring no classic symptoms, attending asymptomatic testing sites in Liverpool, UK, between 6th and 29th of November 2020.Findings: 5869 individuals attended 48 testing sites in Liverpool. The relative sensitivity of LFT versus RT-qPCR, excluding void tests, was 40∙0% (95% CI: 28∙5 to 52∙4;28/70). The specificity was 99∙9% (99∙8 to 99∙99;5431/5434), positive predictive value was 90∙3% (74∙2 to 98∙0;28/31) and negative predictive value was 99∙2% (99∙0 to 99∙4;5431/5473). For cases with RT-qPCR cycle threshold CT <18∙3 (approximate viral loads > 10 6 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 90∙9% (58∙7 to 99∙8;10/11), for CT <24∙4 (viral load > 10 4 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 69∙4% (51∙9 to 83∙7;25/36), and for CT >24∙4 (viral load <10 4 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 9∙7% (1∙9 to 23∙7;3/34).Interpretation: Innova LFT is a helpful tool for identifying infections among people who declare no symptoms of COVID-19, particularly those with high viral load and so more likely to infect others. The number of cases with lower CT (indicating higher viral load) missed by LFT, although small, should be considered, with due caution over using single LFT in high-consequence settings. Clear and accurate communication with the public about how to interpret test results is important. Further research is needed to understand how infectiousness is reflected in the viral antigen shedding detected by LFT versus the viral loads approximated by RT-qPCR.Funding: This evaluation was commissioned by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.Declaration of Interests: This evaluation was commissioned by the UK Department of Health and Social Care. IEB, MGF, MGS, DMH, GB and CPC received grant funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care to evaluate LFT in the Liverpool pilot discussed in this article. IEB reports fees from AstraZeneca as chief data scientist adviser via Liverpool University and a senior investigator grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) outside the submitted work. MGS is Chair of the Infectious Disease Scientific Advisory Board and a minority shareholder in Integrum Scientific LLC, Greensboro, NC, USA, a company that has interests in COVID-19 testing but not with lateral flow technology, and reports grants from the NIHR, the Medical Research Council, and the Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, University of Liverpool.Ethics Approval Statement: The University of Liverpool provided secondary data analysis as part of a UK national service evaluation with data collection by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC;Sponsor) As per the National Health Service (NHS) Research Authority guidelines, this work did not require ethical approval.

2.
BMJ ; 374: n1637, 2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1299224

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the performance of the SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid lateral flow test (LFT) versus polymerase chain reaction testing in the asymptomatic general population attending testing centres. DESIGN: Observational cohort study. SETTING: Community LFT pilot at covid-19 testing sites in Liverpool, UK. PARTICIPANTS: 5869 asymptomatic adults (≥18 years) voluntarily attending one of 48 testing sites during 6-29 November 2020. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were tested using both an Innova LFT and a quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) test based on supervised self-administered swabbing at testing sites. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of LFT compared with RT-qPCR in an epidemic steady state of covid-19 among adults with no classic symptoms of the disease. RESULTS: Of 5869 test results, 22 (0.4%) LFT results and 343 (5.8%) RT-qPCR results were void (that is, when the control line fails to appear within 30 minutes). Excluding the void results, the LFT versus RT-qPCR showed a sensitivity of 40.0% (95% confidence interval 28.5% to 52.4%; 28/70), specificity of 99.9% (99.8% to 99.99%; 5431/5434), positive predictive value of 90.3% (74.2% to 98.0%; 28/31), and negative predictive value of 99.2% (99.0% to 99.4%; 5431/5473). When the void samples were assumed to be negative, a sensitivity was observed for LFT of 37.8% (26.8% to 49.9%; 28/74), specificity of 99.6% (99.4% to 99.8%; 5431/5452), positive predictive value of 84.8% (68.1% to 94.9%; 28/33), and negative predictive value of 93.4% (92.7% to 94.0%; 5431/5814). The sensitivity in participants with an RT-qPCR cycle threshold (Ct) of <18.3 (approximate viral loads >106 RNA copies/mL) was 90.9% (58.7% to 99.8%; 10/11), a Ct of <24.4 (>104 RNA copies/mL) was 69.4% (51.9% to 83.7%; 25/36), and a Ct of >24.4 (<104 RNA copies/mL) was 9.7% (1.9% to 23.7%; 3/34). LFT is likely to detect at least three fifths and at most 998 in every 1000 people with a positive RT-qPCR test result with high viral load. CONCLUSIONS: The Innova LFT can be useful for identifying infections among adults who report no symptoms of covid-19, particularly those with high viral load who are more likely to infect others. The number of asymptomatic adults with lower Ct (indicating higher viral load) missed by LFT, although small, should be considered when using single LFT in high consequence settings. Clear and accurate communication with the public about how to interpret test results is important, given the chance of missing some cases, even at high viral loads. Further research is needed to understand how infectiousness is reflected in the viral antigen shedding detected by LFT versus the viral loads approximated by RT-qPCR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Carrier State/diagnosis , Carrier State/virology , Adult , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Pilot Projects , Predictive Value of Tests , ROC Curve , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , United Kingdom
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