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Enhancing the sensitivity of rapid antigen detection test (RADT) of different SARS-CoV-2 variants and lineages using fluorescence-labeled antibodies and a fluorescent meter

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submitted on 2023-06-14, 09:21 and posted on 2023-06-14, 09:57 authored by Gheyath K. Nasrallah, Fatma Ali, Salma Younes, Heba A. Al-Khatib, Asmaa A. AlThani, Hadi M. Yassine

RT-qPCR is considered the gold standard for diagnosis of COVID-19; however, it is laborious, time-consuming, and expensive. RADTs have evolved recently as relatively inexpensive methods to address these shortcomings, but their performance for detecting different SARS-COV-2 variants remains limited. RADT test performance could be enhanced using different antibody labeling and signal detection techniques. Here, we aimed to evaluate the performance of two antigen RADTs for detecting different SARS-CoV-2 variants: (i) the conventional colorimetric RADT (Ab-conjugated with gold beads); and (ii) the new Finecare™ RADT (Ab-coated fluorescent beads). Finecare™ is a meter used for the detection of a fluorescent signal. 187 frozen nasopharyngeal swabs collected in Universal transport (UTM) that are RT-qPCR positive for different SARS-CoV-2 variants were selected, including Alpha (n = 60), Delta (n = 59), and Omicron variants (n = 108). Sixty flu and 60 RSV-positive samples were included as negative controls (total sample number = 347). The conventional RADT showed sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of 62.4% (95%CI: 54–70), 100% (95%CI: 97–100), 100% (95%CI: 100-100), and 58% (95%CI: 49–67), respectively. These measurements were enhanced using the Finecare™ RADT: sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV were 92.6% (95%CI: 89.08–92.3), 96% (95%CI: 96–99.61), 98% (95%CI: 89–92.3), and 85% (95%CI: 96–99.6) respectively. The sensitivity of both RADTs could be greatly underestimated because nasopharyngeal swab samples collected UTM and stored at −80 °C were used. Despite that, our results indicate that the Finecare™ RADT is appropriate for clinical laboratory and community-based surveillance due to its high sensitivity and specificity.

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Published in: Heliyon
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library



  • English


Cell Press

Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • Biomedical Research Center - QU
  • Qatar University Health - QU
  • College of Health Sciences - QU HEALTH

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