Validity of self-testing at home with rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection by lateral flow immunoassay.
Atchison CJ., Moshe M., Brown JC., Whitaker M., Wong NCK., Bharath AA., McKendry RA., Darzi A., Ashby D., Donnelly CA., Riley S., Elliott P., Barclay WS., Cooke GS., Ward H.
BackgroundWe explore SARS-CoV-2 antibody lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) performance under field conditions compared to laboratory-based electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) and live virus neutralisation.MethodsIn July 2021, 3758 participants performed, at home, a self-administered Fortress LFIA on finger-prick blood, reported and submitted a photograph of the result, and provided a self-collected capillary blood sample for assessment of IgG antibodies using the Roche Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 ECLIA. We compared the self-reported LFIA result to the quantitative ECLIA and checked the reading of the LFIA result with an automated image analysis (ALFA). In a subsample of 250 participants, we compared the results to live virus neutralisation.ResultsAlmost all participants (3593/3758, 95.6%) had been vaccinated or reported prior infection. Overall, 2777/3758 (73.9%) were positive on self-reported LFIA, 2811/3457 (81.3%) positive by LFIA when ALFA-reported, and 3622/3758 (96.4%) positive on ECLIA (using the manufacturer reference standard threshold for positivity of 0.8 U ml-1). Live virus neutralisation was detected in 169 of 250 randomly selected samples (67.6%); 133/169 were positive with self-reported LFIA (sensitivity 78.7%; 95% CI 71.8, 84.6), 142/155 (91.6%; 86.1, 95.5) with ALFA, and 169 (100%; 97.8, 100.0) with ECLIA. There were 81 samples with no detectable virus neutralisation; 47/81 were negative with self-reported LFIA (specificity 58.0%; 95% CI 46.5, 68.9), 34/75 (45.3%; 33.8, 57.3) with ALFA, and 0/81 (0%; 0.0, 4.5) with ECLIA.ConclusionsSelf-administered LFIA is less sensitive than a quantitative antibody test, but the positivity in LFIA correlates better than the quantitative ECLIA with virus neutralisation.