Methods: One hundred respiratory swabs specimens were tested individually and in pools of three or five samples using the Cepheid's Xpert® Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test kit. The optimum number of samples per pool was calculated using the application 'A Shiny App for Pooled Testing'.
Results: Twenty-five pools were generated from 101 samples. Out of 13 pools that contained five samples each, three pools gave true positive results. While out of the 12 pools that contained three samples each, five pools gave true positive results. Four samples gave a false negative pool result. The overall sensitivity and specificity of the assay in the pools were 66.6% and 100%, respectively. The cycle threshold was reduced in most of the pools compared to individual sample tests.
Conclusion: The overall pooled test had a remarkable impact on laboratory resources. Yet, caution is warranted when selecting the cases for pooled testing, since the reduction in sensitivity can significantly impact and increase the risk of exposure to infection.
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