Background: This study aimed to assess clinical performance of a rapid antigen test (RAT) for screening asymptomatic patients during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) omicron outbreak.
Methods: RAT with the routine real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) using the same nasopharyngeal swab in universal transport medium was performed for rapid screening of asymptomatic caregivers of emergent patients from March to April 2022 in a tertiary-care hospital in Korea. Clinical performance of RAT compared to that analyzed by rRT-PCR was evaluated.
Results: A total of 900 caregivers were enrolled in this study, of which 14 (1.6%) were RAT-positive and 44 (5.0%) were positive for rRT-PCR. Overall sensitivity and specificity of RAT were 31.8% and 100.0%, respectively.
Conclusions: Caution must be taken when using RAT as a screening test for asymptomatic caregivers as this may lead to outbreaks among high-risk patients.