Exploring beyond the limit: How comparative stochastic performance affects retesting outcomes in six commercial SARS CoV-2 nucleic acid amplification tests.
journal contributionposted on 03.06.2022, 01:33 authored by Hiu Tat ChanHiu Tat Chan, Marco HT Keung, Ivy Nguyen, Ellen LO Ip, Su M Chew, Danielle Siler, Marion Saville, David Hawkes
Objectives: To examine the comparative stochasticity profile of six commercial SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and how this may affect retesting paradigms. Methods: Commercial quality control (QC) material was serially diluted in viral transport media to create a panel covering 10–10,000 copies/ml. The panel was tested across six commercial NAATs. A subset of high cycle threshold results was retested on a rapid PCR assay to simulate retesting protocols commonly used to discriminate false positives. Results: Performance beyond the LOD differed among assays, with three types of stochasticity profiles observed. The ability of the rapid PCR assay to reproduce a true weak positive specimen was restricted to its own stochastic performance at the corresponding viral concentration. Conclusion: Stochastic performance of various NAATs overlap across low viral concentrations and affect retesting outcomes. Relying on retesting alone to discriminate false positives risk missing true positives even when a more sensitive assay is deployed for confirmatory testing.