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Comparison of Commercially Available and Laboratory Developed Assays for in vitro Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Clinical Laboratories

By Joshua Lieberman, Gregory Pepper, Samia N Naccache, Meeili Huang, Keith R Jerome, Alexander Greninger

Posted 27 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.24.20074559

Multiple laboratory developed tests and commercially available assays have emerged to meet diagnostic needs related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. To date, there is limited comparison data for these different testing platforms. We compared the analytical performance of a laboratory developed test (LDT) developed in our clinical laboratory based on CDC primer sets and four commercially available, FDA emergency use authorized assays for SARS-CoV-2 (Cepheid, DiaSorin, Hologic Panther, and Roche Cobas) on a total of 169 nasopharyngeal swabs. The LDT and Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 assays were the most sensitive assays for SARS-CoV-2 with 100% agreement across specimens. The Hologic Panther Fusion, DiaSorin Simplexa, and Roche Cobas 6800 only failed to detect positive specimens near the limit of detection of our CDC-based LDT assay. All assays were 100% specific, using our CDC-based LDT as the gold standard. Our results provide initial test performance characteristics for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and highlight the importance of having multiple viral detection testing platforms available in a public health emergency.

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