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Cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 with HIV chemiluminescent assay leading to false-positive results
  1. Shaun S Tan,
  2. Ka Lip Chew,
  3. Sharon Saw,
  4. Roland Jureen,
  5. Sunil Sethi
  1. 1 Department of Laboratory Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shaun S Tan, National University Hospital, Singapore 119074, Singapore; shaun_sy_tan{at}

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HIV may be considered as a differential diagnosis for patients who present with prolonged fever and respiratory symptoms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, several patients from our institution have had a simultaneous screening test for serum HIV antigen/antibodies as well as a nasopharyngeal swab for SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcription PCR (rRT-PCR) on presentation to the hospital. While the molecular results often have a delayed turnaround time in light of increased testing volume, HIV screen performed as a chemiluminescent immunoassay on our Abbott Architect platform (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illinois, USA) has a testing time of only 30 min. Herein, we retrospectively reviewed and identified two positive COVID-19 cases on rRT-PCR who concurrently tested reactive for HIV on the Architect, with further confounding results.

Both patients were admitted and tested in the same month. Our first patient was a man in his early 20s who had no significant medical history, presenting with a persistent fever for 2 days, dry cough and pharyngitis. He was not on any long-term medications. His initial laboratory investigations revealed …

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  • Handling editor Tahir S Pillay.

  • Contributors SST and KLC drafted the initial manuscript. SSa, RJ, SSe critically reviewed and approved of final submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.