Diagnostic performance of four lateral flow immunoassays for COVID-19 antibodies in Peruvian population

Rodrigo Calderon-Flores, Guillermo Caceres-Cardenas, Karla Alí, Margaretha De Vos, Devy Emperador, Tatiana Cáceres, Anika Eca, Luz Villa-Castillo, Audrey Albertini, Jilian A. Sacks, Cesar Ugarte-Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serological assays have been used in seroprevalence studies to inform the dynamics of COVID-19. Lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) tests are a very practical technology to use for this objective; however, one of their challenges may be variable diagnostic performance. Given the numerous available LFIA tests, evaluation of their accuracy is critical before real-world implementation. We performed a retrospective diagnostic evaluation study to independently determine the diagnostic accuracy of 4 different antibody-detection LFIA tests: Now Check (Bionote), CareStart (Access bio), Covid-19 BSS (Biosynex) and OnSite (CTK Biotech). The sample panel was comprised of specimens collected and stored in biobanks; specifically, specimens that were RT-PCR positive for SARS-CoV-2 collected at various times throughout the COVID-19 disease course and those that were collected before the pandemic, during 2018 or earlier, from individuals with upper respiratory symptoms but were negative for tuberculosis. Clinical performance (sensitivity and specificity) was analyzed overall, and subset across individual antibody isotypes, and days from symptoms onset. A very high specificity (98% - 100%) was found for all four tests. Overall sensitivity was variable, ranging from 29% [95% CI: 21%-39%] to 64% [95% CI: 54%-73%]. When considering detection of IgM only, the highest sensitivity was 42% [95% CI: 32%-52%], compared to 57% [95% CI: 47%-66%] for IgG only. When the analysis was restricted to at least 15 days since symptom onset, across any isotype, the sensitivity reached 90% for all four brands. All four LFIA tests proved effective for identifying COVID-19 antibodies when two conditions were met: 1) at least 15 days have elapsed since symptom onset and 2) a sample is considered positive when either IgM or IgG is present. With these considerations, the use of this assays could help in seroprevalence studies or further exploration of its potential uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0001555
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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