The rapid identification of patients infected with COVID-19 during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is critical to operating emergency rooms effectively. Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 (Xpert) assays are increasingly being used in the rapid screening of COVID-19. We evaluated the clinical performance of Xpert by comparing findings with those of qRT-PCR evaluations and included the clinical features of patients visiting the emergency department. Positive results with Xpert testing (n = 370) were compared with qRT-PCR findings, demonstrating a 91.9% intertest agreement. We reviewed the subsequent COVID-19 test results and SARS-CoV-2 infection histories for individuals showing discrepancies in Xpert and qRT-PCR testing and determined whether the findings were true-positive or false-positive. The true-positive rate for Xpert testing was 95.4% (353/370); the remaining 17 samples (4.6%) were false-positive. All false-positive data for Xpert testing showed N2 signals amplified to Ct values of ≥40 with no E gene signals. Rapid Xpert testing is highly sensitive and shows a good performance overall in challenging situations, such as an emergency room. However, we considered the possibility of false-positive Xpert results given an N2 gene signal only, especially given high Ct values. We recommend interpreting test data with caution and considering retesting over time.
- emergency medicine
- rapid screening