Analytical and clinical performance of the Hologic Aptima HCV Quant Dx Assay for the quantification of HCV RNA in plasma samples.
The Aptima HCV Quant Dx assay (Aptima assay) is a fully automated quantitative assay on the Panther® system. This assay is intended for confirmation of diagnosis and monitoring of HCV RNA in plasma and serum specimens. The purpose of the testing described in this paper was to evaluate the performance of the Aptima assay. The analytical sensitivity, analytical specificity, precision, and linearity of the Aptima assay were assessed. The performance of the Aptima assay was compared to two commercially available HCV assays; the Abbott RealTime HCV assay (Abbott assay, Abbott Labs Illinois, USA) and the Roche COBAS Ampliprep/COBAS Taqman HCV Quantitative Test v2.0 (Roche Assay, Roche Molecular Systems, Pleasanton CA, USA). The 95% Lower Limit of Detection (LoD) of the assay was determined from dilutions of the 2nd HCV WHO International Standard (NIBSC 96/798 genotype 1) and HCV positive clinical specimens in HCV negative human plasma and serum. Probit analysis was performed to generate the 95% predicted detection limits. The Lower Limit of Quantitation (LLoQ) was established for each genotype by diluting clinical specimens and the 2nd HCV WHO International Standard (NIBSC 96/798 genotype 1) in HCV negative human plasma and serum. Specificity was determined using 200 fresh and 536 frozen HCV RNA negative clinical specimens including 370 plasma specimens and 366 serum specimens. Linearity for genotypes 1 to 6 was established by diluting armored RNA or HCV positive clinical specimens in HCV negative serum or plasma from 8.08 log IU/mL to below 1 log IU/mL. Precision was tested using a 10 member panel made by diluting HCV positive clinical specimens or spiking armored RNA into HCV negative plasma and serum. A method comparison was conducted against the Abbott assay using 1058 clinical specimens and against the Roche assay using 608 clinical specimens from HCV infected patients. In addition, agreement between the Roche assay and the Aptima assay using specimens with low HCV concentrations (</= 25 IU/mL by Roche) was tested using 107 clinical specimens. The 95% LoD was 5.1 IU/mL or lower for serum and 4.8 IU/mL or lower for plasma depending on the HCV genotype. The LLoQ for the assay was 10 IU/mL. Specificity was 100% with 95% confidence intervals of 99.6 to 100% for serum and plasma data combined. The assay demonstrated good linearity across the range for all genotypes. The Precision as estimated by the standard deviation (sd) was 0.17 log or lower across the range of the assay for both serum and plasma. HCV viral load results were compared using the Aptima assay and the Abbott assay giving a slope of 1.06, an intercept of 0.08 and an R2 of 0.98. HCV viral load results were compared for the Aptima and Roche assays giving a slope of 1.05, an intercept of −0.12 and an R2 of 0.96. Positive and negative agreement for the Aptima assay vs the Roche assay was 89% for low level specimens. The Aptima assay is a highly sensitive and specific assay. The assay gave comparable HCV viral load results when compared to the Abbott and Roche assays. The performance of the Aptima assay makes it an excellent candidate for the detection and monitoring of HCV.