The COBAS AMPLICOR CT/NG test for Neisseria gonorrhoeae cross-reacts with certain strains of nonpathogenic Neisseria species. In some strains, the target sequence is identical to that of N. gonorrhoeae, whereas other strains have a small number of mismatches within the regions recognized by the primers or probe used in the COBAS AMPLICOR NG test. These cross-reactive strains are occasionally present in urogenital specimens, causing false-positive results in the COBAS AMPLICOR NG test. Analysis of the data generated in a large multicenter clinical trial showed that 2.9% of the specimens gave signals between A660 of 0.2 and 3.5 but that one-half of these equivocal specimens did not contain N. gonorrhoeae. Most of these equivocal specimens were correctly classified as true positive or true negative by retesting in duplicate and defining a PCR-positive result as two of three results with an A660 of ≥ 2.0. If specimens had been classified as positive or negative based on a single test result using a cutoff of an A660 of 0.2, specificity would have ranged from 96.2 to 98.9% depending on specimen type, sex, and presence of symptoms. By employing the equivocal zone-retesting algorithm, specificity increased to 98.6 to 99.9% with little effect (0.1 to 4.9% decrease) on sensitivity in most specimen types, enabling the test to achieve a positive predictive value of at least 90% in populations with a prevalence of 4% or higher. In lower-prevalence populations, the test could be used to screen for presumptive infections that would have to be confirmed by an independent test.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)