Multicenter Clinical Evaluation of the Automated Aries Group A Strep PCR Assay from Throat Swabs

J Clin Microbiol. 2019 Jan 30;57(2):e01482-18. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01482-18. Print 2019 Feb.


Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is one of the leading causes of bacterial pharyngitis. Early GAS diagnosis is critical for appropriate antibiotic administration that reduces the risk of GAS sequelae and limits spread of the infection. The Aries Group A Strep (GAS) assay (Luminex, Austin, TX) is a fully automated PCR assay for direct detection of GAS in throat swab specimens in less than 2 h with minimum hands-on time. This multicenter prospective study evaluated the clinical performance of the Aries GAS assay compared to that of Streptococcus pyogenes culture. Subjects with symptoms consistent with pharyngitis were enrolled across four sites in the United States, and a throat swab in liquid Amies medium was obtained. Aries and reference testing was performed within 72 and 48 h after sample collection, respectively. Of 623 throat swab specimens from patients with pharyngitis (93.6% <18 years old, 54.3% female), the reference method yielded valid results for 618 specimens. Reference and Aries assay testing showed GAS-positive results for 160 (25.9%) and 166 (26.9%) specimens, respectively. Compared to the reference method, Aries assay sensitivity was 97.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93.7% to 99.0%), specificity was 97.8% (95% CI, 96.0 to 98.8%), positive predictive value was 94.0% (95% CI, 89.3% to 96.7%), and negative predictive value was 99.1% (95% CI, 97.7% to 99.7%). There were 10 false-positive and four false-negative detections with the Aries assay. Discrepant analysis with bidirectional sequencing yielded concordant results with the Aries assay for nine of 14 discordant samples. The Aries assay had high sensitivity and specificity for qualitative detection of group A Streptococcus from patients with pharyngitis.

Keywords: Streptococcus pyogenes; clinical trial; group A streptococcus; in vitro diagnostic assay; multicenter.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automation, Laboratory / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*
  • Pharynx / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / classification
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / genetics
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / isolation & purification*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult