American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology | VOL. 43
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Effectiveness of Rapid Antigen Testing in Forensic Cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection, Including Delta Variant

Publication Date Sep 10, 2022

Abstract

The polymerase chain reaction is indispensable for diagnosing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in forensic cases. However, studies regarding the effectiveness of rapid antigen testing (RAT) in forensic cases remain limited. Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of RAT compared with reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) for confirming SARS-CoV-2 infection (including the delta variant). Before the external examination or autopsy, we collected samples from the nasopharyngeal mucosa, which were then assessed via RAT (QuickNavi COVID-19 Ag kit, QuickNavi-Flu+COVID-19 Ag kit) and RT-qPCR. Reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction results were positive in 73 of 1255 cases, and 21 cases were identified as those of delta variants. Low RT-qPCR threshold cycle value cases and delta variant infections were more likely to result in coronavirus disease-related deaths. The sensitivity of the QuickNavi COVID-19 Ag kit was 76.32%, and that of the QuickNavi-Flu+COVID-19 Ag kit was 77.14%. The specificity of both RATs was 100%. In QuickNavi COVID-19 Ag kit cases, delta variant cases showed lower sensitivity than non-delta variant cases, even for a similar viral load. Thus, RAT in forensic cases is sufficiently useful as a screening test for SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, RAT carries a risk of false negatives, especially for delta variant cases.

Concepts

Rapid Antigen Testing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Reverse-transcription Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction Forensic Cases Nasopharyngeal Mucosa External Examination Reverse-transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Low Threshold Cycle Rapid Testing Polymerase Chain Reaction

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