Sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests for Lassa fever: a systematic review.
Background: Lassa fever virus has been enlisted as a priority pathogen of epidemic potential by the World Health organization Research and Development (WHO R & D) Blueprint. Diagnostics play a crucial role in epidemic preparedness. This systematic review was conducted to determine the sensitivity and specificity of Lassa fever diagnostic tests for humans.
Methods: We searched OVID Medline, OVID Embase, Scopus and Web of Science for laboratory based and field studies that reported the performance of diagnostic tests for Lassa fever in humans from 1 January 1990 to 25 January 2019. Two reviewers independently screened all the studies and included only studies that involved the evaluation of a Lassa fever diagnostic test and provided data on the sensitivity and specificity. The quality of the studies was assessed using the QUADAS-2 criteria. Data on the study location, study design, type of sample, index test, reference tests and diagnostic performance were extracted from the studies.
Results: Out of a total of 1947 records identified, 1245 non-duplicate citations were obtained. Twenty-six (26) full-text articles examined which identified 08 studies meeting pre-defined criteria. Only one study was a field evaluation study. The sensitivity and specificity of the point of care (RDT) against the Nikisins qPCR were 91.2%(95% CI:75.2–97.7) and 86%(95% CI: 71.4–94.2) at temperatures 18–30 °C, while the sensitivity and specificity of the single IgM ELISA assay against standard RT-PCR were 31.1%(95%CI: 25.6–37) and 95.7%(95%CI:92.8–97.7). The sensitivity of the combined ELISA Antigen/IgM assay(against virus isolation), the recombinant IgM/IgG ELISA(against standard RT-PCR), and the IgM/IgG immunoblot(against IFA) were 88%(95%CI:77–95), 25.9%(95%CI:20.8–31.6), and 90.7%(95%CI:84.13–97.27) respectively. The specificity of the combined ELISA Antigen/IgM assay(against virus isolation), the recombinant IgM/IgG ELISA(against standard RT-PCR), and the IgM/IgG immunoblot(against IFA) were 90%(95%CI:88–91), 100%(95%CI:98.2–100), and 96.3%(95%CI:92.2–100) respectively.
Conclusion: Lassa fever has assays for antigenaemia, IgM, IgG and PCR detection. The RDT reportedly performed well but more data are needed from other countries and at temperatures above 30 °C. Most combined immunoassays perform better than the single IgM. Multiplex and pan-Lassa assays are needed. More well conducted field studies are needed.