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Transfusion ; 61(2): 368-374, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894804


BACKGROUND: The frequency of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNAemia in blood donors is uncertain. Thus, assays for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in blood, validated on commercially available polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems, are required to allow a good comparability of data. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The cobas SARS-CoV-2 dual-target reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) assay, licensed for respiratory swab SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing, was validated for detection of viral RNA in blood. For the validation panel, SARS-CoV-2-positive plasma samples were prepared by spiking SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory specimens in negative human plasma. The 95% limit of detection (LOD95) was determined by probit analysis. For clinical validation, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent plasma (CCP) donors and patients with COVID-19 with a severe disease course treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) were included. RESULTS: The validation of the SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay for blood demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity and intra- and inter-assay precision and efficiency. The LOD95 for SARS-CoV-2 RNA was 5.0 genome copies/mL (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3-12 copies/mL) for target 1 and 4.3 genome copies/mL (95% CI, 2.9-10 copies/mL) for target 2. In a cohort of 39 CCP donors with 66 CCP donations no SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma was detected. Screening of 25 blood samples of 19 ICU patients with COVID-19 showed six positive results for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in at least one target of the assay. CONCLUSION: The SARS-CoV-2 RNA assay, only licensed for respiratory swabs, performed on a PCR system for high-throughput testing, showed a good assay performance for blood testing.

COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Blood Donors , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics