Comparison of a novel antigen detection test with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay for laboratory diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection

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Cirit O. S., MUTLU E., SANCAK B., KOCAGÖZ Z. T., CAN Ö., ÇİÇEK C., ...More

INFECTION, vol.51, no.1, pp.91-96, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s15010-022-01832-9
  • Journal Name: INFECTION
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Environment Index, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.91-96
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Nasopharyngeal swab samples, Rapid antigen test, RT-PCR, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Molecular diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in respiratory specimens is considered the gold standard method. This method is highly sensitive and specific but it has some limitations such as being expensive and requiring special laboratory equipment and skilled personnel. RapidFor (TM) Antigen Rapid Test Kit is a commercially available Ag-RDT which is produced in Turkey and designed to detect the nucleocapsid antigen of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swab samples. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of this novel SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection considering the RT-PCR method as the gold standard. Four hundred forty-four nasopharyngeal swab samples which were collected from the patients who met clinical criteria of COVID-19 from ten centers in Turkey between September 2020 and February 2021 were included in the study. All the nasopharyngeal swab samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA using commercial RT-PCR kits (Bioeksen and A1 Lifesciences, Istanbul, Turkey) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Viral loads were assessed according to the cycle threshold (Ct) values. RapidFor (TM) SARS-CoV-2 antigen test (Vitrosens Biotechnology, Istanbul, Turkey) was used to investigate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigen in all samples following the manufacturer's instructions. Out of 444 nasopharyngeal swab samples tested, 346 (77.9%) were positive and 98 (22.1%) were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RTPCR. Overall sensitivity of the RapidFor (TM). Antigen Rapid Test Kit was 80.3% whereas specificity was found to be 87.8%. Positivity rate of rapid antigen test in samples with Ct values over 25 and below 30 was 82.7%, while it increased to 95.7% in samples 20 <= Ct < 25 and reached 100% in samples with Ct values below 20. RapidFor (TM) SARS-CoV-2 Ag test might be a good choice in the screening of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients and their contacts for taking isolation measures early, with advantages over RT-PCR as being rapid, easy and being applicable in every laboratory and even at point of care.