Assessment of the Field Utility of a Rapid Point-of-Care Test for SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in a Household Cohort

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  • 1 Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
  • | 2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
  • | 3 MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Fajara, The Gambia

Point-of-care (POC) tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies offer quick assessment of serostatus after natural infection or vaccination. We compared the field performance of the BioMedomics COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Antibody Test against an ELISA in 303 participants enrolled in a SARS-CoV-2 household cohort study. The rapid antibody test was easily implemented with consistent interpretation across 14 users in a variety of field settings. Compared with ELISA, detection of seroconversion lagged by 5 to 10 days. However, it retained a sensitivity of 90% (160/177, 95% confidence interval [CI] 85–94%) and specificity of 100% (43/43, 95% CI 92–100%) for those tested 3 to 5 weeks after symptom onset. Sensitivity was diminished among those with asymptomatic infection (74% [14/19], 95% CI 49–91%) and early in infection (45% [29/64], 95% CI 33–58%). When used appropriately, rapid antibody tests offer a convenient way to detect symptomatic infections during convalescence.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Jessica T. Lin, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, 111 Mason Farm Rd., 2336 MBRB, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. E-mail: jessica_lin@med.unc.edu

Financial support: This work was supported by funds and charitable contributions from the UNC Department of Medicine; UNC COVID-19 Response Fund/Health Foundation; a Gillings Innovations Lab Award; and grants from the National Institutes of Health: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (grant no. UL1TR002489), National Cancer Institute (grant no. U54 CA260543), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (grant no. T32AI007151).

Disclosure: Rapid antibody tests were provided by BioMedomics Inc, Morrisville, NC.

Authors’ addresses: Mehal Churiwal, Kelly D. Lin, Srijana Chhetri, Meredith S. Muller, Kathleen Tompkins, Judy Smith, Christy Litel, Maureen Whittelsey, Christopher Basham, and Tyler Rapp, Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, E-mails: mehal@live.unc.edu, kellylin@email.unc.edu, srijanac@live.unc.edu, meredith_muller@med.unc.edu, kathleen.tompkins@unchealth.unc.edu, jlbeamer@email.unc.edu, christy_litel@med.unc.edu, maureenw@live.unc.edu, christopher_basham@med.unc.edu, and tyler_rapp@med.unc.edu. Salman Khan and Lakshmanane Premkumar, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, E-mails: salmanly@live.unc.edu and prem@med.unc.edu. Carla Cerami, Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, and MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Fajara, The Gambia, E-mail: ccerami@mrc.gm.

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