Analytical Sensitivity and Specificity of Two RT-qPCR Protocols for SARS-CoV-2 Detection Performed in an Automated Workflow
WHO declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. The establishment of standardized RT-qPCR protocols for respiratory secretions testing, as well as sharing of specimens, data, and information became critical. Here, we investigate the analytical performance of two interim RT-qPCR protocols (Charité and Centers for Disease Control (CDC)) for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 executed in a fully automated platform. Analytical specificity, PCR
... ficity, PCR amplification efficiency, analytical sensitivity (limit of detection), and cross-reactivity were evaluated using contrived samples. The on-going accuracy was evaluated by retrospective analysis of our test results database (real clinical samples). N1, E, and a modified version of RdRP assays presented adequate analytical specificity, amplification efficiency, and analytical sensitivity using contrived samples. The three assays were applied to all individuals who requested the SARS-CoV-2 molecular test assay in our laboratory and it was observed that N1 gave more positive results than E, and E gave more positive results than RdRP (modified). The RdRP and E were removed from the test and its final version, based on N1 assay only, was applied to 30,699 Brazilian individuals (from 19 February 2020 to 8 May 2020). The aggregated test results available in the database were also presented.