Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)
Background: To facilitate deployment of point-of-care testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, we evaluated the Access Bio CareStart COVID-19 Antigen test in a high-throughput, drive-through, free community testing site using anterior nasal (AN) swab reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for clinical testing.
Methods: Consenting symptomatic and asymptomatic children (≤18 years) and adults received dual AN swabs. CareStart testing was performed with temperature/humidity monitoring. All tests had 2 independent reads to assess interoperator agreement. Patients with positive CareStart results were called and instructed to isolate pending RT-PCR results. The paired RT-PCR result was the reference for sensitivity and specificity calculations.
Results: Of 1603 participants, 1245 adults and 253 children had paired RT-PCR/CareStart results and complete symptom data. Eighty-three percent of adults and 87% of children were asymptomatic. CareStart sensitivity/specificity were 84.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 71.1-93.7)/97.2% (95% CI, 92.0-99.4) and 85.7% (95% CI, 42.1-99.6)/89.5% (95% CI, 66.9-98.7) in adults and children, respectively, within 5 days of symptoms. Sensitivity/specificity were 50.0% (95% CI, 41.0-59.0)/99.1% (95% CI, 98.3-99.6) in asymptomatic adults and 51.4% (95% CI, 34.4-68.1)/97.8% (95% CI, 94.5-99.4) in asymptomatic children. Sensitivity in all 234 RT-PCR-positive people was 96.3% with cycle threshold (Ct) ≤25, 79.6% with Ct ≤30, and 61.4% with Ct ≤35. All 21 false-positive CareStart tests had faint but normal bands. Interoperator agreement was 99.5%. Operational challenges included identification of faint test bands and inconsistent swab elution volumes.
Conclusions: CareStart had high sensitivity in people with Ct ≤25 and moderate sensitivity in symptomatic people overall. Specificity was unexpectedly lower in symptomatic versus asymptomatic people. Excellent interoperator agreement was observed, but operational challenges indicate that operator training is warranted.
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This is not terribly useful to the primary care pediatrician.
The most important feature for screening exam is sensitivity. In this case, it is not so good.