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1.
Usefulness of rapid antigen testing for SARS-CoV-2 screening of healthcare workers : ǂa ǂpilot study
Anja Šterbenc, Viktorija Tomič, Urška Bidovec, Katja Vrankar, Aleš Rozman, Mihaela Zidarn, 2021

Abstract: Background. Identification of infected healthcare workers (HCWs) is an important step in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission control. Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are considered an important addition to molecular tests in diagnosing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), mainly because of their fast turnaround time, easier analytical procedure and lower price. However, real-life studies on the usefulness of such testing for screening of HCWs are limited. Methods. Physicians, nurses and hospital attendants currently working at the University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik were invited to participate in the pilot study. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained three times per week for two consecutive weeks and tested with a point-of-care RAT and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Serum samples were obtained at the beginning of the study and 2 weeks after the last swab was collected to evaluate the serological status. Results. A total of 191 nasopharyngeal swabs from 36 HCWs were obtained. None of the samples tested was positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigen, whereas two HCWs tested positive on RT-PCR. Of these, one HCW had a newly identified SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas RT-PCR probably detected a previous but recent infection in the other HCW. Conclusio.n Based on the results of this pilot study, it is unlikely that RAT will reliably detect novel SARS-CoV-2 infections among asymptomatic HCWs despite serial sampling. Although RT-PCR-based screening of HCWs may not be feasible due to high sample volume, molecular methods may identify SARS-CoV-2-infected HCWs already during the presymptomatic stage.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, health personnel, COVID-19 serological testing, real-time polymerase chain reaction, rapid antigen test, screening
DiRROS - Published: 28.05.2021; Views: 313; Downloads: 69

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Robust saliva-based RNA extraction-free one-step nucleic acid amplification test for mass SARS-CoV-2 monitoring
Mojca Benčina, Roman Jerala, Tatjana Lejko-Zupanc, Gabriele Turel, Viktorija Tomič, Mihaela Zidarn, Žiga Jensterle, Katarina Prosenc, Mojca Milavec, Tina Demšar, Polona Kogovšek, Irena Mlinarič-Raščan, Dunja Urbančič, Alenka Šmid, Petra Sušjan, Arne Praznik, Tina Šket, Eva Rajh, 2021

Abstract: Early diagnosis with rapid detection of the virus plays a key role in preventing the spread of infection and in treating patients effectively. In order to address the need for a straightforward detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection and assessment of viral spread, we developed rapid, sensitive, extraction-free one-step reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) tests for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in saliva. We analyzed over 700 matched pairs of saliva and nasopharyngeal swab (NSB) specimens from asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. Saliva, as either an oral cavity swab or passive drool, was collected in an RNA stabilization buffer. The stabilized saliva specimens were heat-treated and directly analyzed without RNA extraction. The diagnostic sensitivity of saliva-based RT-qPCR was at least 95% in individuals with subclinical infection and outperformed RT-LAMP, which had at least 70% sensitivity when compared to NSBs analyzed with a clinical RT-qPCR test. The diagnostic sensitivity for passive drool saliva was higher than that of oral cavity swab specimens (95% and 87%, respectively). A rapid, sensitive one-step extraction-free RT-qPCR test for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in passive drool saliva is operationally simple and can be easily implemented using existing testing sites, thus allowing high-throughput, rapid, and repeated testing of large populations. Furthermore, saliva testing is adequate to detect individuals in an asymptomatic screening program and can help improve voluntary screening compliance for those individuals averse to various forms of nasal collections.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, COVID-19 serological testing, real-time polymerase chain reaction, saliva, oral cavity swab, passive drool, pooling
DiRROS - Published: 09.11.2021; Views: 82; Downloads: 31
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