Evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy of COVID-19 antigen tests: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Yuan Hung Wang, Chia Chang Wu, Chyi Huey Bai, Shou Cheng Lu, Yi Ping Yang, Yi Ying Lin, Wei Yi Lai, Tzu Wei Lin, Ying Chun Jheng, Ming Cheng Lee, Cheng Chieh Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to affect countries worldwide. To inhibit the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), testing of patients, contact tracing, and quarantine of their close contacts have been used as major nonpharmaceutical interventions. The advantages of antigen tests, such as low cost and rapid turnaround, may allow for the rapid identification of larger numbers of infectious persons. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2. Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Biomed Central databases from inception to January 2, 2021. Studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of antigen testing for SARS-CoV-2 with reference standards were included. We included studies that provided sufficient data to construct a 2 × 2 table on a per-patient basis. Only articles in English were reviewed. Summary sensitivity and specificity for antigen tests were generated using a random-effects model. Results: Fourteen studies with 8624 participants were included. The meta-analysis for antigen testing generated a pooled sensitivity of 79% (95% CI, 66%-88%; 14 studies, 8624 patients) and a pooled specificity of 100% (95% CI, 99%-100%; 14 studies, 8624 patients). The subgroup analysis of studies that reported specimen collection within 7 days after symptom onset showed a pooled sensitivity of 95% (95% CI, 78%-99%; four studies, 1342 patients) and pooled specificity of 100% (95% CI, 97%-100%; four studies, 1342 patients). Regarding the applicability, the patient selection, index tests, and reference standards of studies in our meta-analysis matched the review title. Conclusion: Antigen tests have moderate sensitivity and high specificity for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. Antigen tests might have a higher sensitivity in detecting SARS-CoV-2 within 7 days after symptom onset. Based on our findings, antigen testing might be an effective method for identifying contagious individuals to block SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1037
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Volume84
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Meta-analysis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sensitivity and specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy of COVID-19 antigen tests: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this