Clinical Performance of the Luminex NxTAG CoV Extended Panel for SARS-CoV-2 Detection in Nasopharyngeal Specimens from COVID-19 Patients in Hong Kong.J Clin Microbiol. 2020 Jul 23; 58(8)JC
In December 2019, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported in the Hubei province of China and later spread all over the world. There was an urgent need of a high-throughput molecular test for screening the COVID-19 patients in the community. The Luminex NxTAG CoV extended panel is a high-throughput FDA emergency use-authorized molecular diagnostic assay for SARS-CoV-2 detection. This system targets three genes (ORF1ab, N, and E genes) of SARS-CoV-2, the ORF1ab region of SARS-CoV, and the ORF5 region of MERS-CoV. In this study, we evaluated the diagnostic performance of this system with nasopharyngeal swab specimens of 214 suspected COVID-19 patients in Hong Kong. The results were compared with our routine COVID-19 reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) protocol with a LightMix SarbecoV E-gene kit and an in-house RdRp/Hel RT-PCR assay. The NxTAG CoV extended panel demonstrated 97.8% sensitivity and 100% specificity to SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal specimens. On low-viral load specimens, the sensitivity of the NxTAG panel could still maintain at 85.71%. Strong agreement was observed between the NxTAG panel and the routine COVID-19 RT-PCR protocol (kappa value = 0.98). Overall, the E gene target of the NxTAG panel demonstrated the highest sensitivity among the three SARS-CoV-2 targets, while the N gene targets demonstrated the least. In conclusion, the NxTAG CoV extended panel is simple to use, and it has high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity to SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal specimens. We recommend this diagnostic system for high-throughput COVID-19 screening in the community.