Sequencing SARS-CoV-2 from antigen tests.

Genomic surveillance empowers agile responses to SARS-CoV-2 by enabling scientists and public health analysts to issue recommendations aimed at slowing transmission, prioritizing contact tracing, and building a robust genomic sequencing surveillance strategy. Since the start of the pandemic, real time RT-PCR diagnostic testing from upper respiratory specimens, such as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, has been the standard.
Moreover, respiratory samples in viral transport media are the ideal specimen for SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing (WGS). In early 2021, many clinicians transitioned to antigen-based SARS-CoV-2 detection tests, which use anterior nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection. Despite this shift in testing methods, the need for whole-genome sequence surveillance remains. Thus, we developed a workflow for whole-genome sequencing with antigen test-derived swabs as an input rather than nasopharyngeal swabs. In this study, we use excess clinical specimens processed using the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card. We demonstrate that whole-genome sequencing from antigen tests is feasible and yields similar results from Rapid antigen test procedure RT-PCR-based assays utilizing a swab in viral transport media.

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