Objective: With the current SARS-CoV2 outbreak, countless tests need to be performed on potential symptomatic individuals, contacts and travellers. The gold standard is a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based system taking several hours to confirm positivity. For effective public health containment measures, this time span is too long. We therefore evaluated a rapid test in a high-prevalence community setting.
Study design: Thirty-nine randomly selected individuals at a COVID-19 screening centre were simultaneously tested via qPCR and a rapid test. Ten previously diagnosed individuals with known SARS-CoV-2 infection were also analysed.
Methods: The evaluated rapid test is an IgG/IgM-based test for SARS-CoV-2 with a time to result of 20 min. Two drops of blood are needed for the test performance.
Results: Of 49 individuals, 22 tested positive by repeated qPCR. In contrast, the rapid test detected only eight of those positive correctly (sensitivity: 36.4%). Of the 27 qPCR-negative individuals, 24 were detected correctly (specificity: 88.9%).
Conclusion: Given the low sensitivity, we recommend not to rely on an antibody-based rapid test for public health measures such as community screenings.
Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Outbreak; Rapid test; SARS-CoV-2.
Copyright © 2020 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.