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In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Serological rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are widely used across pathologies, often providing users a simple, binary result (positive or negative) in as little as 5 to 20 min. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, new RDTs for identifying SARS-CoV-2 have rapidly proliferated. However, these seemingly easy-to-read tests can be highly subjective, and interpretations of the visible "bands" of color that appear (or not) in a test window may vary between users, test models, and brands. We developed and evaluated the accuracy/performance of a smartphone application (xRCovid) that uses machine learning to classify SARS-CoV-2 serological RDT results and reduce reading ambiguities. Across 11 COVID-19 RDT models, the app yielded 99.3% precision compared to reading by eye. Using the app replaces the uncertainty from visual RDT interpretation with a smaller uncertainty of the image classifier, thereby increasing confidence of clinicians and laboratory staff when using RDTs, and creating opportunities for patient self-testing.

Mendels David-A, Dortet Laurent, Emeraud C├ęcile, Oueslati Saoussen, Girlich Delphine, Ronat Jean-Baptiste, Bernabeu Sandrine, Bahi Silvestre, Atkinson Gary J H, Naas Thierry

2021-Mar-23

SARS-CoV-2, machine learning, smartphone application