Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)
INTRODUCTION: Management of the COVID-19 pandemic is hampered by long delays associated with centralised laboratory PCR testing. In hospitals this leads to poor patient flow and nosocomial transmission and so rapid, accurate diagnostic tests are urgently required. The FebriDx is a point-of-care test that detects an antiviral host response protein in finger prick blood within 10 min, but its accuracy for the identification of COVID-19 is unknown.
METHODS: We performed a real-world diagnostic accuracy study of FebriDx in hospitalised patients during the first wave of the pandemic. Measures of diagnostic accuracy were calculated based on FebriDx results compared to the reference standard of SARS-CoV-2 PCR on combined nose and throat swabs. A multivariable predictive model including FebriDx, age, sex, and clinical characteristics was developed and underwent internal validation.
RESULTS: FebriDx was performed on 251 patients and gave a valid result in 248. 118 of 248 (48%) were PCR positive for COVID-19. FebriDx results were available after 10 min compared with 1.7 (1.6 to 2.1) hours with point-of-care PCR testing and 23.4 (17.2 to 31.1) hours with laboratory PCR testing. Sensitivity of FebriDx for the identification of COVID-19 was 93% (110/118; 95% CI 87 to 97%) and specificity was 86% (112/130; 95%CI 79 to 92%). Positive and negative likelihood ratios were 6.73 (95%CI 4.37 to 10.37) and 0.08 (95%CI 0.04 to 0.15) respectively. In the multivariate model age, sex and other clinical features did not contribute significantly to the effect of the FebriDx result in distinguishing patients with and without COVID-19.
CONCLUSIONS: During the first wave of the pandemic, FebriDx had high accuracy for the identification of COVID-19 in hospitalised adults and could be deployed as a front door triage tool.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN14966673.
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Data needs to be clarified, but the thigh test is extremely useful for routine practice today.
This is a very interesting study showing that a point-of-care finger-pick blood test can diagnose Covid-19 accurately in only ten minutes during a season when no other viruses (like Influenza A or B, circulate) are present. Sensitivity was 93% and specificity (at least) 86%. The cost of the finger prick test was about £12. The results indicate FebriDX could be a strong triage-instrument in the ED during a viral epidemic.