Data_Sheet_1_High Performance of SARS-Cov-2N Protein Antigen Chemiluminescence Immunoassay as Frontline Testing for Acute Phase COVID-19 Diagnosis: A Retrospective Cohort Study.docx
Objectives: COVID-19 emerged and rapidly spread throughout the world. Testing strategies focussing on patients with COVID-19 require assays that are high-throughput, low-risk of infection, and with small sample volumes. Antigen surveillance can be used to identify exposure to pathogens and measure acute infections.
Methods: A total of 914 serum samples, collected from 309 currently infected COVID-19 patients, 48 recovered ones, and 410 non-COVID-19 patients, were used to measure N protein antigen levels by a chemilumineseent immunoassay. Diagnostic performances were analyzed in different periods after onset.
Results: There was a high level of N protein antigen in COVID-19 patients (0.56 COI), comparing to the recovered patients (0.12 COI) and controls (0.19 COI). In receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis, the area under the curve of serum N protein antigen was 0.911 in the first week after onset. In this period, Sensitivity and specificity of serologic N protein antigen testing was 76.27 and 98.78%. Diagnosis performance of specific antibodies became better from the third week after onset. Subgroup analysis suggested that severe patients had higher levels of antigens than mild patients.
Conclusions: High level of serum antigen suggested early infection and serious illness. Serum N protein antigen testing by chemiluminescence immunoassay is considered as a viable assay used to improve diagnostic sensitivity for current patients.
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