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A nationwide analytical and clinical evaluation of 44 rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 compared to RT-qPCR

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BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in massive testing by Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) without solid independent data regarding clinical performance being available. Thus, decision on purchase of a specific RAT may rely on manufacturer-provided data and limited peer-reviewed data.

METHODS: This study consists of two parts. In the retrospective analytical part, 33 RAT from 25 manufacturers were compared to RT-PCR on 100 negative and 204 positive deep oropharyngeal cavity samples divided into four groups based on RT-PCR Cq levels. In the prospective clinical part, nearly 200 individuals positive for SARS-CoV-2 and nearly 200 individuals negative for SARS-CoV-2 by routine RT-PCR testing were retested within 72 h for each of 44 included RAT from 26 manufacturers applying RT-PCR as the reference method.

RESULTS: The overall analytical sensitivity differed significantly between the 33 included RAT; from 2.5% (95% CI 0.5-4.8) to 42% (95% CI 35-49). All RAT presented analytical specificities of 100%. Likewise, the overall clinical sensitivity varied significantly between the 44 included RAT; from 2.5% (95% CI 0.5-4.8) to 94% (95% CI 91-97). All RAT presented clinical specificities between 98 and 100%.

CONCLUSION: The study presents analytical as well as clinical performance data for 44 commercially available RAT compared to the same RT-PCR test. The study enables identification of individual RAT that has significantly higher sensitivity than other included RAT and may aid decision makers in selecting between the included RAT.

FUNDING: The study was funded by a participant fee for each test and the Danish Regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105214
JournalJournal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
Volume153
Pages (from-to)105214
ISSN1386-6532
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

ID: 79100085