• Scientific reports · Nov 2021

    Diagnostic performance of rapid antigen tests (RATs) for SARS-CoV-2 and their efficacy in monitoring the infectiousness of COVID-19 patients.

    Various RATs investigated showed 99% sensitivity in identifying contagious COVID patients (PCR Ct < 30).

    • John G Routsias, Maria Mavrouli, Panagiota Tsoplou, Kyriaki Dioikitopoulou, and Athanasios Tsakris.
    • Department of Microbiology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece. jroutsias@med.uoa.gr.
    • Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 24; 11 (1): 22863.

    AbstractThe most widely used test for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is a PCR test. PCR has very high sensitivity and is able to detect very low amounts of RNA. However, many individuals receiving a positive test result in a context of a PCR-based surveillance might be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but they are not contagious at the time of the test. The question arises regards if the cost effective, portable rapid antigen tests (RATs) have a better performance than PCR in identification of infectious individuals. In this direction, we examined the diagnostic performance of RATs from 14 different manufacturers in 400 clinical samples with known rRT-PCR cycles threshold (cT) and 50 control samples. Substantial variability was observed in the limit of detection (LOD) of different RATs (cT = 26.8-34.7). The fluorescence-based RAT exhibited a LOD of cT = 34.7. The use of the most effective RATs leads to true positive rates (sensitivities) of 99.1% and 90.9% for samples with cT ≤ 30 and cT ≤ 33, respectively, percentages that can guarantee a sensitivity high enough to identify contagious patients. RAT testing may also substantially reduce the quarantine period for infected individuals without compromising personal or public safety.© 2021. The Author(s).

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    This article appears in the collection: Does a COVID RAT-negative result mean non-infectious?.



    Various RATs investigated showed 99% sensitivity in identifying contagious COVID patients (PCR Ct < 30).

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