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Evaluation of the analytical and clinical performance of two RT-PCR based point-of-care tests; Cepheid Xpert® Xpress CoV-2/Flu/RSV plus and SD BioSensor STANDARD™ M10 Flu/RSV/SARS-CoV-2.

BACKGROUND: Rapid and accurate detection of viral respiratory infections is important for infection control measures. This study compares the analytical and clinical performance of the Xpert® Xpress CoV-2/Flu/RSV plus test ("Xpert", Cepheid) and the STANDARD™ M10 Flu/RSV/SARS-CoV-2 test ("M10", SD Biosensor). Both tests are quadruplex RT-PCR assays for rapid diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, influenza A/B and RSV.

STUDY DESIGN: Analytical sensitivities were determined by limit of detection for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, influenza B and RSV, respectively. Additionally, the clinical performance of the Xpert and the M10 tests was evaluated against standard-of-care RT-PCR by testing of 492 clinical specimens.

RESULTS: The analytical sensitivities for Xpert versus M10 test was 10, 50, 50 and 300 versus 300, 200, 800 and 1500 copies/mL for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, influenza B and RSV, respectively. Clinical sensitivity for the Xpert test was superior across all four pathogens compared to the M10 test. Xpert showed clinical sensitivity of 100 % in all Ct-ranges for all four pathogens whereas M10 showed clinical sensitivity of 100 % in the 25-30 Ct-range, 84-100 % in the 30-35 Ct-range and 47-67 % in the >35 Ct-range across the four pathogens. Translating into real-life clinical sensitivity, the Xpert would detect 100 % of all four pathogens, whereas M10 would detect 92.1, 92.4, 84.8 and 94.7 % for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, influenza B and RSV.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates improved analytical and clinical performance of Xpert Xpress CoV-2/Flu/RSV plus compared to STANDARD M10 Flu/RSV/SARS-CoV-2, which is important for ensuring accuracy of diagnosis at all stages of a respiratory infection.

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