Comparison of the Rapid Antigen Testing Method With RT-qPCR for the Diagnosis of COVID-19

Link to article at PubMed

Cureus. 2021 Aug 24;13(8):e17405. doi: 10.7759/cureus.17405. eCollection 2021 Aug.


BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has till now affected about 110 million people globally. It has not spared any country and has led to 24 lakh deaths. As a result, the testing had to be increased manifold leading to depletion in the number of the quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) kits. Point-of-care rapid antigen-based tests were developed in order to meet the increasing demands. The objective of this study was to compare the performance of a rapid chromatographic test (index test) with a gold standard test (RT-qPCR).

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was done at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India. Paired samples were taken from all patients reporting to the clinic for antigen-based rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) and RT-qPCR. The sensitivity and specificity were calculated to evaluate the performance of the RDT.

RESULTS: The overall sensitivity and specificity of the RDT were observed to be 53.6% (39.7-67.0) and 97.35% (94.6-98.9), respectively. In symptomatic individuals, the sensitivity was higher 61.0% (44.5-75.8). The test positivity rates of RDT were found to be higher at a ​​cycle threshold value ≤20.

CONCLUSION: RDT can be used as a screening test to rule in the infection especially in symptomatic patients who are more prone to spread the disease. It is an important weapon in the armamentarium of public healthcare for the containment of COVID-19.

PMID:34589316 | PMC:PMC8459390 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.17405

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