The identification of viral RNA using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard for identifying an infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. The limitations of RT-qPCR such as requirement of expensive instruments, trained staff and laboratory facilities led to development of rapid antigen tests (RATs). The performance of RATs has been widely evaluated and found to be varied in different settings. The present systematic review aims to evaluate the pooled sensitivity and specificity of the commercially available RATs. This review was registered on PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42021278105).
Literature search was performed through PubMed, Embase and Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register to search studies published up to 26 August 2021. The overall pooled sensitivity and specificity of RATs and subgroup analyses were calculated. Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 (QUADAS-2) was used to assess the risk of bias in each study. The overall pooled sensitivity and specificity of RATs were 70% (95% CI: 69-71) and 98% (95% CI: 98-98), respectively.
In subgroup analyses, nasal swabs showed the highest sensitivity of 83% (95% CI: 80-86) followed by nasopharyngeal swabs 71% (95% CI: 70-72), throat swabs 69% (95% CI: 63-75) and saliva 68% (95% CI: 59-77). Samples from symptomatic patients showed a higher sensitivity of 82% (95% CI: 82-82) as compared to asymptomatic patients at 68% (95% CI: 65-71), while a cycle threshold (Ct) value ≤25 showed a higher sensitivity of 96% (95% CI: 95-97) as compared to higher Ct value. Although the sensitivity of RATs needs to be enhanced, it may still be a viable option in places where laboratory facilities are lacking for diagnostic purposes in the early phase of disease.

The Rapid Antigen Detection Test for SARS-CoV-2 Underestimates the Identification of COVID-19 Positive Cases and Compromises the Diagnosis of the SARS-CoV-2 (K417N/T, E484K, and N501Y) Variants

Timely detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome due to coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) has been the gold- strategy for identifying positive cases during the current pandemic. However, faster and less expensive methodologies are also applied for the massive diagnosis of COVID-19. In this way, the rapid antigen test (RAT) is widely used. However, it is necessary to evaluate its detection efficiency considering the current pandemic context with the circulation of new viral variants.
In this study, we evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of RAT (SD BIOSENSOR, South Korea), widely used for testing and SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis in Santiago of Chile. The RAT showed a 90% (amplification range of 20 ≤ Cq <25) and 10% (amplification range of 25 ≤ Cq <30) of positive SARS-CoV-2 cases identified previously by RT-qPCR. Importantly, a 0% detection was obtained for samples within a Cq value>30.
In SARS-CoV-2 variant detection, RAT had a 42.8% detection sensitivity in samples with RT-qPCR amplification range 20 ≤ Cq <25 containing the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) K417N/T, N501Y and E484K, associated with beta or gamma SARS-CoV-2 variants. This study alerts for the special attention that must be paid for the use of RAT at a massive diagnosis level, especially in the current scenario of appearance of several new SARS-CoV-2 variants which could generate false negatives and the compromise of possible viral outbreaks.

Saliva-based COVID-19 detection: a rapid antigen test of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein using an electrical-double-layer gated field-effect transistor-based biosensing system

Facing the unstopped surges of COVID-19, an insufficient capacity of diagnostic testing jeopardizes the control of disease spread. Due to a centralized setting and a long turnaround, real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR), the gold standard of viral detection, has fallen short in timely reflecting the epidemic status quo during an urgent outbreak. As such, a rapid screening tool is necessitated to help contain the spread of COVID-19 amid the countries where the vaccine implementations have not been widely deployed. In this work, we propose a saliva-based COVID-19 antigen test using the electrical double layer (EDL)-gated field-effect transistor-based biosensor (BioFET).
The detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein is validated with limits of detection (LoDs) of 0.34 ng/mL (7.44 pM) and 0.14 ng/mL (2.96 pM) in 1× PBS and artificial saliva, respectively. The specificity is inspected with types of antigens, exhibiting low cross-reactivity among MERS-CoV, Influenza A virus, and Influenza B virus. This portable system is embedded with Bluetooth communication and user-friendly interfaces that are fully compatible with digital health, feasibly to an on-site turnaround, an effective management, and a proactive response taken by medical providers and frontline health workers.

Diagnostic performance, user acceptability, and safety of unsupervised SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen detecting tests performed at home

One strategy for reducing spread of COVID-19 is to contain the infection with broad screening, isolate infected individuals, and trace contacts. This strategy requires widely available, reliable SARS-CoV-2 testing. To increase testing, rapid antigen detection tests (RADTs) were developed for self-sampling, self-testing, and self-interpretation. This study examined diagnostic performance, user acceptability, and safety of nasal self-RADTs, compared to PCR testing.
Methods: Self-RADT kits were distributed at a public COVID-19 test center in Aarhus, Denmark or delivered to participants. Participants reported test results and test preferences. During enrollment, participants reported occurrence and duration of symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Sensitivity and specificity of self-RADT, relative to oropharyngeal PCR testing, were calculated.
Results: Among 827 participants, 102 showed positive PCR test results. Sensitivities of the self-RADTs were 65.7% (95% CI: 49.2-79.2; DNA Diagnostic) and 62.1% (95% CI: 50.1-72.9; Hangzhou), and specificities were 100% (95% CI: 99.0-100; DNA Diagnostic) and 100% (95% CI: 98.9-100; Hangzhou). The sensitivities of both self-RADTs appeared higher in symptomatic participants than in asymptomatic participants. Two out of every three participants preferred self-RADT over PCR test.
Conclusion: Self-performed RADTs were reliable, user acceptable, and safe among laypeople as supplement to professionally collected oropharyngeal PCR testing.

Dengue surveillance using gravid oviposition sticky (GOS) trap and dengue non-structural 1 (NS1) antigen test in Malaysia: randomized controlled trial

Dengue remains a major public threat and existing dengue control/surveillance programs lack sensitivity and proactivity. More efficient methods are needed. A cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted for 18 months to determine the efficacy of using a combination of gravid oviposition sticky (GOS) traps and dengue non-structural 1 (NS1) antigen for early surveillance of dengue among Aedes mosquito. Eight residential apartments were randomly assigned into intervention and control groups. GOS traps were placed at the intervention apartments weekly to trap Aedes mosquitoes and these tested for dengue NS1 antigen.
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When dengue-positive pool was detected, the community were notified and advised to execute protective measures. Fewer dengue cases were recorded in the intervention group than the control. Detection of NS1-positive mosquitoes was significantly associated with GOS Aedes index (rs = 0.68, P < 0.01) and occurrence of dengue cases (rs = 0.31, P < 0.01). Participants’ knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) toward dengue control indicated significant improvement for knowledge (P < 0.01), practice (P < 0.01) and total scores (P < 0.01). Most respondents thought this surveillance method is good (81.2%) and supported its use nationwide. Thus, GOS trap and dengue NS1 antigen test can supplement the current dengue surveillance/control, in alignment with the advocated integrated vector management for reducing Aedes-borne diseases.