Scientific article

Diagnostic accuracy of SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen detection testing in symptomatic and asymptomatic children in the clinical setting

Published inJournal of Clinical Microbiology, vol. 59, no. 9, e0099121
Publication date2021

Antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are used in children despite the lack of data. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of the Panbio-COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device (P-RDT) in children. Symptomatic and asymptomatic participants 0 to 16 years old had two nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) for both reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and P-RDT. A total of 822 participants completed the study, of which 533 (64.9%) were symptomatic. Among the 119 (14.5%) RT-PCR-positive patients, the P-RDT sensitivity was 0.66 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.57 to 0.74). Mean viral load (VL) was higher among P-RDT-positive patients than negative ones (P < 0.001). Sensitivity was 0.91 in specimens with VL of >1.0E6 IU/ml (95% CI 0.83 to 0.99) and decreased to 0.75 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.83) for specimens >1.0E3 IU/ml. Among symptomatic participants, the P-RDT displayed a sensitivity of 0.73 (95% CI 0.64 to 0.82), which peaked at 1.00 at 2 days post-onset of symptoms (DPOS) (95% CI 1.00 to 1.00), then decreased to 0.56 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.88) at 5 DPOS. There was a trend toward lower P-RDT sensitivity in symptomatic children <12 years (0.62 [95% CI 0.45 to 0.78]) versus ≥12 years (0.80 [95% CI 0.69 to 0.91]; P = 0.09). In asymptomatic participants, the P-RDT displayed a sensitivity of 0.43 (95% CI 0.26 to 0.61). Specificity was 1.00 in symptomatic and asymptomatic children (95% CI 0.99 to 1.00). The overall 73% and 43% sensitivities of P-RDT in symptomatic and asymptomatic children, respectively, was below the 80% cutoff recommended by the World Health Organization. We observed a correlation between VL and P-RDT sensitivity, as well as variation of sensitivity according to DPOS, a major determinant of VL. These data highlight the limitations of RDTs in children, with the potential exception in early symptomatic children ≥12yrs.

  • Adolescent
  • Antigens
  • Viral
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Serological Testing
  • Child
  • Child
  • Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant
  • Newborn
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
Citation (ISO format)
L’HUILLIER, Arnaud et al. Diagnostic accuracy of SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen detection testing in symptomatic and asymptomatic children in the clinical setting. In: Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2021, vol. 59, n° 9, p. e0099121. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00991-21
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0095-1137

Technical informations

Creation09/22/2021 8:59:00 AM
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