Background: Following the outbreaks of 2009 pandemic H1N1 infection, rapid influenza diagnostic tests have been used to detect H1N1 infection. However, no meta-analysis has been undertaken to assess the diagnostic accuracy when this manuscript was drafted.
Methods: The literature was systematically searched to identify studies that reported the performance of rapid tests. Random effects meta-analyses were conducted to summarize the overall performance.
Results: Seventeen studies were selected with 1879 cases and 3477 non-cases. The overall sensitivity and specificity estimates of the rapid tests were 0·51 (95%CI: 0·41, 0·60) and 0·98 (95%CI: 0·94, 0·99). Studies reported heterogeneous sensitivity estimates, ranging from 0·11 to 0·88. If the prevalence was 30%, the overall positive and negative predictive values were 0·94 (95%CI: 0·85, 0·98) and 0·82 (95%CI: 0·79, 0·85). The overall specificities from different manufacturers were comparable, while there were some differences for the overall sensitivity estimates. BinaxNOW had a lower overall sensitivity of 0·39 (95%CI: 0·24, 0·57) compared with all the others (P-value <0·001), whereas QuickVue had a higher overall sensitivity of 0·57 (95%CI: 0·50, 0·63) compared with all the others (P-value = 0·005).
Conclusions: Rapid tests have high specificity but low sensitivity and thus limited usefulness.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.