Lessons from applied large-scale pooling of 133,816 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests
October 2, 2020
Barak N, Ben-Ami R, Benedek G, et al.
This study describes the validation and early implementation of sample pooling for SARS- CoV-2 detection. Authors monitored and employed adaptive 8-sample and 5-sample pooling of nasopharyngeal sample lysates for detections of SARS-CoV-2 during a 5- month period. From mid-April to mid-September, 2020, 133,816 samples were tested in 14,697 8-sample pools and 3,248 5-sample pools; 9.35% and 22.1% of the pools tested positive, respectively. The empirical efficiency (total number of tested samples divided by the number of actual RT-PCR reactions performed) was 4.587 for the 8-sample pools and 2.377 for the 5-sample pools. Authors conclude that the data analysis revealed pooling efficiency and sensitivity that exceed theoretical predictions, which resulted from non- random distribution of positive samples in pools. Adaptive pooling approaches can maximize resource-saving under fluctuating prevalence rates. These findings support pooling for efficient, large, high-quantity SARS-CoV-2 testing.
Barak N, Ben-Ami R, Benedek G, et al. Lessons from applied large-scale pooling of 133,816 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests. medRxiv 2020; : 2020.10.16.20213405.