To evaluate the operative capacity of nine serological rapid tests to detect the IgM/IgG antibodies response in serum from patients with SARS-CoV-2 in different clinical stages.
A cross-sectional study of serological rapid tests was designed to compare the performance of the evaluated immunochromatographic tests for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2. A total of 293 samples was used, including negatives, asymptomatic, and symptomatic serum samples.
The sensitivity of the evaluated tests was low and moderate in the groups of asymptomatic serum samples and the group of serums coming from patients with less than 11 days since the onset of the symptoms. The specificity for the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies tests ranged between 86.5%-99% for IgM and 86.5%-99.5% for IgG. The sensitivity and the likelihood ratio were different according to the study groups. The usefulness of these tests is restricted to symptomatic patients and their sensitivity is greater than 85% after 11 days from the appearance of symptoms.
Serological tests are not an adequate strategy for the identification of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients. Serological rapid tests for the detection of specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies can be used as a diagnostic aid, but diagnosis must be confirmed by RT-PCR. Rapid tests should be reserved for patients with symptoms lasting more than 11 days.