Rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection assay in comparison with real-time RT-PCR assay for laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 in Thailand.Virol J. 2020 11 13; 17(1):177.VJ
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the world. Hence, there is an urgent need for rapid, simple, and accurate tests to diagnose severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Performance characteristics of the rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection test should be evaluated and compared with the gold standard real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for diagnosis of COVID-19 cases.
The rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection test, Standard™ Q COVID-19 Ag kit (SD Biosensor®, Republic of Korea), was compared with the real-time RT-PCR test, Allplex™ 2019-nCoV Assay (Seegene®, Korea) for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory specimens. Four hundred fifty-four respiratory samples (mainly nasopharyngeal and throat swabs) were obtained from COVID-19 suspected cases and contact individuals, including pre-operative patients at Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand during March-May 2020.
Of 454 respiratory samples, 60 (13.2%) were positive, and 394 (86.8%) were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by real-time RT-PCR assay. The duration from onset to laboratory test in COVID-19 suspected cases and contact individuals ranged from 0 to 14 days with a median of 3 days. The rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection test's sensitivity and specificity were 98.33% (95% CI, 91.06-99.96%) and 98.73% (95% CI, 97.06-99.59%), respectively. One false negative test result was from a sample with a high real-time RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct), while five false positive test results were from specimens of pre-operative patients.
The rapid assay for SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection showed comparable sensitivity and specificity with the real-time RT-PCR assay. Thus, there is a potential use of this rapid and simple SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection test as a screening assay.