Original Article

Comparative evaluation of cost effective extraction free molecular technique for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with reference to standard VTM based RT-qPCR method


Background and Objectives: The entire globe is undergoing an unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. Considering the need of rapid and accurate diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2, this study was planned to evaluate the cost effective extraction free RT-PCR technique in comparison to the standard VTM based RT-qPCR method.
Materials and Methods: Paired swabs from nasopharynx and oropharynx were collected for SARS-CoV-2 testing, from 211 adult patients (≥18 years) in VTM and plain sterile tubes (dry swabs). These samples were processed and RT-qPCR was carried out as per standard protocols.
Results: 54.5% of the patients were females and 45.5% were males with sex ratio 1:1.19 (M: F). 38.86% were symptomatic, of which fever (86.59%), cough (79.23%) and breathlessness (46.34%) were the most common symptoms. The positivity by VTM based method and index method was 31.27% and 13.27% respectively. Of the 27 inconclusive results from index method, 37.04% were positive, 48.15% were negative by VTM based method. However, in 40 inconclusive results by VTM based method, 90% were negative and rest remained inconclusive by index method. The sensitivity and specificity of the index method were 39.39% and 85.71% respectively. The overall agreement between VTM based method and index method was 49.59% with estimated Kappa value of 0.19.
Conclusion: VTM based method showed higher sensitivity compared to the index method. The higher positivity by VTM based method, suggests that VTM based method could plausibly be a better detection method of SARS-CoV-2. Still, the index method might add value in a resource limited setups for detection of SARS-CoV-2.

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IssueVol 13 No 6 (2021) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijm.v13i6.8073
COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Coronavirus; Molecular diagnostic; Real time polymerase chain reaction

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How to Cite
Dhakad M, Gogoi S, Kumari A, Singh A, Jais M, Prakash A, Pangtey G, Kaur R. Comparative evaluation of cost effective extraction free molecular technique for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with reference to standard VTM based RT-qPCR method. Iran J Microbiol. 2021;13(6):748-756.