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Rapid testing for respiratory syncytial virus in a resource-limited paediatric intensive care setting

Howard Newman, Donald Tshabalala, Sikhumbuzo Mabunda, Nokwazi Nkosi, Candice Carelson
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1084 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v9i1.1084 | © 2020 Howard Newman, Donald Tshabalala, Sikhumbuzo Mabunda, Nokwazi Nkosi, Candice Carelson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 August 2019 | Published: 08 December 2020

About the author(s)

Howard Newman, National Health Laboratory Service, Virology, Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and, Department of Pathology, Division of Medical Virology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Donald Tshabalala, Department of Paediatrics, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha, South Africa; and, Department of Paediatrics, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Sikhumbuzo Mabunda, Department of Public Health, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa; and, Mpumalanga Department of Health, Nelspruit, South Africa
Nokwazi Nkosi, Department of Pathology, Division of Medical Virology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and, National Health Laboratory Service, Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Candice Carelson, National Health Laboratory Service, Virology, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


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Abstract

We analysed the performance characteristics of the respiratory syncytial virus lateral flow rapid antigen assay in use when compared to a multiplex polymerase chain reaction for detection of respiratory viruses. The study was conducted at a tertiary paediatric hospital in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2018. We found the clinical sensitivity (36.8%) of the rapid test to be too low for routine diagnostic use. Knowledge of assay performance characteristics of rapid tests are important for appropriate interpretation of rapid test results.

Keywords

respiratory syncytial virus; rapid antigen tests; respiratory viruses; respiratory multiplex polymerase chain reaction; assay performance characteristics

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