Evaluation of two RT-PCR techniques for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in serum for microbiological diagnosis

Link to article at PubMed

J Virol Methods. 2021 Dec 12:114411. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2021.114411. Online ahead of print.


Presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in serum (viremia) of COVID-19 patients has been related to poor prognosis and death. The aim of this study was to evaluate both the ability to detect viremia in COVID-19 patients of two commercial reverse real-time-PCR (rRT-PCR) tests, Cobas® and TaqPath™, comparing them with a gold standard method, and their implementation in microbiology laboratories. This retrospective cohort study included 303 adult patients (203 diagnosed with COVID-19 and 100 non-COVID-19 patients) admitted to a tertiary hospital, with at least one serum sample collected within the first 48 hours from admission. A total of 365 serum samples were included: 100 from non-COVID-19 patients (pre-pandemic and pandemic control groups) and 265 from COVID-19 patients. Serum samples were considered positive when at least one target was detected. All patients in control groups showed negative viremia. Cobas® and TaqPath™ tests showed specificity and Positive Predictive Value over 96%. Nevertheless, sensitivity (53.72 and 73.63, respectively) and Negative Predictive Value (64.78 and 75) were lower. Viremia difference between ICU and non-ICU patients was significant (p ≤ 0.001) for both techniques. Consequently, SARS-CoV-2 viremia detection by both rRT-PCR tests should be considered a good tool to stratify COVID-19 patients and could be implemented in microbiology laboratories.

PMID:34910983 | PMC:PMC8666146 | DOI:10.1016/j.jviromet.2021.114411

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