Evaluation of the Roche antigen rapid test and a cell culture-based assay compared to rRT- PCR for the detection of SARS-CoV-2: A contribution to the discussion about SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests and contagiousnes

Steinlin-Schopfer, Jacqueline; Barbani, Maria Teresa; Kamgang, Richard; Zwahlen, Martina; Suter-Riniker, Franziska; Dijkman, Ronald (2021). Evaluation of the Roche antigen rapid test and a cell culture-based assay compared to rRT- PCR for the detection of SARS-CoV-2: A contribution to the discussion about SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests and contagiousnes. Journal of clinical virology plus, 1(1-2), p. 100020. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jcvp.2021.100020

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Background
The most sensitive method to detect SARS-CoV-2 relies on rRT-PCR; however, viral RNA can be detected weeks/months after clinical resolution. Since rRT-PCR cannot discern between non- and infectious virus, it is unclear whether the presence of viral RNA after recovery reflects infectious SARS-CoV-2. However, recent studies suggest a positive correlation between antigen rapid tests (Ag-RDT) and virus isolation that is more suited to assess contagiousness.

Objectives
To assess the utility of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests in different settings we evaluated the performance of Ag-RDT-based and a cell culture-based SARS-CoV-2 assay in comparison to rRT-PCR.

Study design
A total of 61 Nasopharyngeal-Swabs tested positive by cobasⓇ SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR were in parallel evaluated with the Roche Ag-RDT and a cell culture-based assay to detect SARS-CoV-2.

Results
SARS-CoV-2 was successfully isolated in 51/61 samples corresponding to 83.6%, which was 97.3% or 96.2% when considering samples with E-gene Ct-value <25 and <28, respectively. In comparison, the Ag-RDT showed an overall sensitivity of 85.2%, that increased to 100% and 96.2% using an E-gene Ct-value cut-off of <25 and <28, respectively. There was an overall good agreement between the commercial Ag-RDT and our in-house cell culture-based SARS-CoV-2 detection assay. However, SARS-CoV-2 could be isolated from two samples that tested negative by Ag-RDT.

Conclusions
Our results support the use of the Roche Ag-RDT to detect SARS-CoV-2 exposure in large scale populations. However, it is recommended to use rRT-PCR, potentially in conjunction with cell culture-based SARS-CoV-2 assay, to support clinicians in making decisions regarding fragile patient groups.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases > Virology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Virology and Immunology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)

UniBE Contributor:

Steinlin, Jacqueline; Barbani, Maria Teresa; Kamgang, Richard; Zwahlen, Martina; Suter, Franziska Marta and Dijkman, Ronald

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2667-0380

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ronald Dijkman

Date Deposited:

13 Jan 2022 09:24

Last Modified:

16 Jan 2022 01:55

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jcvp.2021.100020

Uncontrolled Keywords:

SARS-CoV-2 Antigen rapid test Virus isolation Diagnostics

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/162659

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/162659

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