Effectiveness and use of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction point of care testing in a large-scale COVID-19 surveillance system.
BACKGROUND: Rapid COVID-19 testing platforms can identify infected individuals at the point of care (POC), allowing immediate isolation of infected individuals and reducing the risk of transmission. While lab-based nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) is often considered the gold standard to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the community, results typically take 2-7 days to return, rendering POC testing a critical diagnostic tool for infection control. The National Football League (NFL) and NFL Players Association deployed a new POC testing strategy using a newly available reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) rapid test during the 2020 season, and evaluated diagnostic effectiveness compared to other available devices using real-world population surveillance data. METHODS: RT-PCR POC test results were compared to NAAT results from same-day samples by calculation of positive and negative concordance. Sensitivity analyses were performed for three subgroups: (1) individuals symptomatic at time of positive test; (2) individuals tested during the pilot phase of rollout; and (3) individuals tested daily. RESULTS: Among 4989 same-day POC/NAAT pairs, 4957 (99.4%) were concordant, with 93.1% positive concordance and 99.6% negative concordance. Based on adjudicated case status, the false negative rate was 0.2% and false positive rate was 2.9%. In 43 instances, the immediate turnaround of results by POC allowed isolation of infected individuals 1 day sooner than lab-based testing. Positive/negative concordance in sensitivity analyses were relatively stable. CONCLUSION: RT-PCR POC testing provided timely results that were highly concordant with lab-based NAAT in population surveillance. Expanded use of effective RT-PCR POC can enable rapid isolation of infected individuals and reduce COVID-19 infection in the community.
Mack, CD; Wasserman, EB; Hostler, CJ; Solomon, G; Anderson, DJ; Walton, P; Hawaldar, K; Myers, E; Best, M; Eichner, D; Mayer, T; Sills, A
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