Authors:Konstantin Tanida, Lars Koste, Christian Koenig, Werner Wenzel, Andreas Fritsch, and Hagen Frickmann
To evaluate the automated cartridge-based PCR approach ARIES SARS-CoV-2 Assay targeting the ORF-sequence and the N-gene of SARS-CoV-2.
In line with the suggestions by Rabenau and colleagues, the automated ARIES SARS-CoV-2 Assay was challenged with strongly positive samples, weakly positive samples and negative samples. Further, intra-assay and inter-assay precision as well as the limit-of-detection (lod) were defined with quantified target RNA and DNA. The Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-Cov-2 Assay was used as gold standard.
Concordance between the ARIES assay and the Cepheid assay was 100% for strongly positive samples and for negative samples, respectively. For weakly positive samples as confirmed applying the Cepheid assay, a relevant minority of 4 out of 15 samples (26.7%) went undetected by the ARIES assay. Intra- and inter-assay precision were satisfactory, while the lod was in the 103 DNA copies/reaction-range, in the 103 virus copies/reaction-range, or in the 103–104 free RNA copies/reaction-range in our hands.
The automated ARIES assay shows comparable test characteristics as the Cepheid assay focusing on strongly positive and negative samples but a slightly reduced sensitivity with weakly positive samples. Decisions on diagnostic use should include considerations on the lod.