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Combining Rapid PCR and Antibody Tests Improved COVID-19 Diagnosis

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Nose and throat swab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing can miss up to 50% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, in part because the virus may have already cleared the upper respiratory tract. But by then, patients may have developed antibodies against the virus. An approach that combines rapid PCR and antibody testing could help physicians quickly diagnose more cases, a recent small study of hospitalized patients with suspected COVID-19 suggested.

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Nose and throat swab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing can miss up to 50% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, in part because the virus may have already cleared the upper respiratory tract. But by then, patients may have developed antibodies against the virus. An approach that combines rapid PCR and antibody testing could help physicians quickly diagnose more cases, a recent small study of hospitalized patients with suspected COVID-19 suggested.

A University of Cambridge–led team analyzed previously collected data from the COVIDx Study, in which they clinically validated a simple amplification-based assay known as SAMBA II, a rapid PCR test to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Developed by a Cambridge spinoff company with partial US National Institutes of Health funding, the point-of-care (POC) test is now in routine clinical use in the UK.

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