Review Article

COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test could contain transmission in low- and middle-income countries

Adesola Olalekan, Bamidele Iwalokun, Oluwabukola M. Akinloye, Olayiwola Popoola, Titilola A. Samuel, Oluyemi Akinloye
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1255 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v9i1.1255 | © 2020 Adesola Olalekan, Bamidele Iwalokun, Oluwabukola M. Akinloye, Olayiwola Popoola, Titilola A. Samuel, Oluyemi Akinloye | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 2020 | Published: 30 September 2020

About the author(s)

Adesola Olalekan, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Lagos, Nigeria; and, Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH), University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria
Bamidele Iwalokun, Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH), University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria; and, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria
Oluwabukola M. Akinloye, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Oulton College, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Olayiwola Popoola, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Lagos, Nigeria; and, Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH), University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria
Titilola A. Samuel, Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH), University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria; and, Department of Biochemistry, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Lagos, Nigeria
Oluyemi Akinloye, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Lagos, Nigeria; and, Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH), University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria; and, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria


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Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has impacted heavily on global health. Although real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is the current diagnostic method, challenges for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) necessitate cheaper, higher-throughput, reliable rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs).

Objective: We reviewed the documented performance characteristics of available COVID-19 RDTs to understand their public health utility in the ongoing pandemic, especially in resource-scarce LMIC settings.

Methods: Using a scoping review methodology framework, common literature databases and documentary reports were searched up to 22 April 2020, irrespective of geographical location. The search terms included ‘SARS-CoV-2 AND serological testing’ and ‘COVID-19 AND serological testing’.

Results: A total of 18 RDTs produced in eight countries, namely China (6; 33.33%), the United States (4; 22.22%), Germany (2; 11.11%), Singapore (2; 11.11%), Canada, Kenya, Korea and Belgium (1 each; 5.56%), were evaluated. Reported sensitivity ranged from 18.4% to 100% (average = 84.7%), whereas specificity ranged from 90.6% to 100% (average = 95.6%). The testing time ranged from 2 min to 30 min. Of the 12 validated RDTs, the IgM/IgG duo kit with non-colloidal gold labelling system was reported to elicit the highest sensitivity (98% – 100%) and specificity (98% – 99% for IgG and 96% – 99% for IgM).

Conclusion: We found reports of high sensitivity and specificity among the developed RDTs that could complement RT-PCR for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, especially for screening in LMICs. However, it is necessary to validate these kits locally.


Keywords

Coronavirus disease; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; rapid diagnostic test; low- and middle-income countries

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