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An Agreement of Antigen Tests on Oral Pharyngeal Swabs or Less Invasive Testing With Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction for Detecting SARS-CoV-2 in Adults: Protocol for a Prospective Nationwide Observational Study

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BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented level of worldwide testing for epidemiologic and diagnostic purposes, and due to the extreme need for tests, the gold-standard Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing capacity has been unable to meet the overall worldwide testing demand. Consequently, although the current literature has shown the sensitivity of rapid antigen tests (RATs) to be inferior to RT-PCR, RATs have been implemented on a large scale without solid data on performance.

OBJECTIVE: This study will compare analytical and clinical sensitivities and specificities of 50 lateral flow- or laboratory-based RATs and 3 strand invasion-based amplification (SIBA)-RT-PCR tests from 30 manufacturers to RT-PCR testing of samples obtained from the deep oropharynx. In addition, the study will compare sensitivities and specificities of the included RATs as well as RT-PCR on clinical samples obtained from the deep oropharynx, the anterior nasal cavity, saliva, the deep nasopharynx, and expired air to RT-PCR on deep oropharyngeal samples.

METHODS: In the prospective part of the study, 200 individuals found SARS-CoV-2 positive and 200 individuals found SARS-CoV-2 negative by routine RT-PCR testing will be retested with each RAT, applying RT-PCR as the reference method. In the retrospective part of the study, 304 deep oropharyngeal cavity swabs divided into 4 groups based on RT-PCR quantification cycle (Cq) levels will be tested with each RAT.

RESULTS: The results will be reported in several papers with different aims. The first paper will report retrospective (analytical sensitivity, overall and stratified into different Cq range groups) and prospective (clinical sensitivity) data for RATs, with RT-PCR as the reference method. The second paper will report results for RAT based on anatomical sampling location. The third paper will compare different anatomical sampling locations by RT-PCR testing. The fourth paper will focus on RATs that rely on central laboratory testing. Tests from 4 different manufacturers will be compared for analytical performance data on retrospective deep oropharyngeal swab samples. The fifth paper will report the results of 4 RATs applied both as professional use and as self-tests. The last paper will report the results from 2 breath tests in the study. A comparison of sensitivity and specificity between RATs will be conducted using the McNemar test for paired samples and the chi-squared test for unpaired samples. Comparison of the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) between RATs will be performed by the bootstrap test, and 95% CIs for sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV will be calculated as bootstrap CIs.

CONCLUSIONS: The study will compare the sensitivities of a large number of RATs for SARS-CoV-2 to with those of RT-PCR and will address whether lateral flow-based RATs differ significantly from laboratory-based RATs. The anatomical test locations for both RATs and RT-PCR will also be compared.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04913116; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04913116.

INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/35706.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummere35706
TidsskriftJMIR research protocols
Vol/bind11
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)e35706
ISSN1929-0748
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 4 maj 2022

ID: 76293687