Assessing a chip based rapid RTPCR test for SARS CoV-2 detection (TrueNat assay): A diagnostic accuracy study

PLoS One. 2021 Oct 13;16(10):e0257834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257834. eCollection 2021.


COVID-19 testing is required before admission of a patient in the hospitals, invasive procedures, major and minor surgeries etc. Real Time Polymerase chain reaction is the gold standard test for the diagnosis, but requires well equipped biosafety laboratory along with trained manpower. In this study we have evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of novel TrueNat molecular assay for detecting SARS CoV-2. TrueNat is a chip-based real time PCR test and works on portable, light weight, battery powered equipment and can be used in remote areas with poor infrastructure. In this study 1807 patients samples were collected for both TrueNat and RTPCR COVID-19 testing during study period. Of these 174 (9.7%) and 174 (15%) were positive by RTPCR and TrueNat respectively and taking results of RTPCR as gold standard TrueNat test showed a sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic accuracy of 69.5, 90.9% and 89.2% respectively. It can be concluded that TrueNat is a simple, easy to use, good rapid molecular diagnostic test for diagnosis of COVID-19 especially in resource limited settings and will prove to be a game changer of molecular diagnostics in future.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / instrumentation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / instrumentation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • Sensitivity and Specificity

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this study.