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Comparative Performance of Four Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Virus by Qi-Zhen Zhuang, Zhen-Zhen Li, Yan Chao, Fei Li, Yi-Yuan Ge, Yan-Hua Sha, Yi Wang, Xian-Zhang Huang, Pei-Feng Ke, Yu-Juan Xiong

Background: COVID-19 is caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which was discovered in 2019 and spread around the world in a short time. SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) have been rapidly developed and quickly applied to clinical testing of COVID-19. Aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of four NAAT assays.
Methods: Limit of detection (LOD), precision, accuracy, analytical specificity and analytical interference studies on four NAATs (Daan, Sansure, Hybribio, and Bioperfectus) were performed according to Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute protocols and guidelines. The four NAATs were compared using 46 clinical samples.
Results: The LOD of the N gene for Daan, Sansure, and Hybribio was 500 copies/mL, and that for Bioperfectus was 1,000 copies/mL. The LOD of the ORF1ab gene for Daan, Bioperfectus, and Hybribio was 3,000 copies/mL, and that for Sansure was 2,000 copies/mL. A good precision was shown at the concentration above 20% of the LOD for all four NAATs, with all individual coefficients of variation below 3.6%. Satisfactory results were also observed in the accuracy, analytical specificity, and analytical interference tests. The results of the comparison test showed that Daan, Sansure, and Hybribio NAATs could detect the samples with a specificity of 100% (30/30) and a sensitivity of 100% (16/16), whereas Bioperfectus NAAT detected the samples with a specificity of 100% (30/30) and a sensitivity of 81.25% (13/16). However, no significant difference in sensitivity was found between Bioperfectus NAAT and the three other NAATs (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: The four SARS-CoV-2 NAATs showed comparable performance, with the LOD of the N gene lower than the LOD of the ORF1ab gene.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2020.201025