Scientific research

The comparative performance of sampling methods for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infections by RT-PCR

A review and meta-analysis was conducted by HKU SPH researchers to compare the performance of various clinical sampling methods for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection by RT-PCR, which has now been published in Lancet Infectious Diseases. They compared the diagnostic performance in terms of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative value by using the data extracted from existing literature. The result suggested that either pooled nasal and throat swab or saliva and nasal swabs offered good diagnostic performance, while throat swabs alone was generally not recommended. They also indicated that self-collection might not affect the diagnostic accuracy. By doing so, they provided a useful reference framework for the interpretation of RT-PCR test results using various sample collection methods.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00146-8


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