Background: Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS), a tool used for monitoring health indicators in low resource settings resulting in “high” or “low” classifications, assumes that determination of the trait of interest is perfect. This is often not true for diagnostic tests, with imperfect sensitivity and specificity. Here, we develop Lot Quality Assurance Sampling for Imperfect Tests (LQAS-IMP) to address this issue and apply it to a COVID-19 serosurveillance study in Haiti.
Results: As part of the standard LQAS procedure, the user specifies allowable classification errors for the system, which is defined by a sample size and decision rule. We show that when an imperfect diagnostic test is used, the classification errors are larger than specified. We derive a modified procedure, LQAS-IMP, that accounts for the sensitivity and specificity of a diagnostic test to yield correct classification errors. We apply our methods to create a sampling scheme at Zanmi Lasante health facilities in Haiti to assess the prior circulation of COVID-19 among healthcare workers (HCWs) using a limited number of antibody tests.
Conclusions: The LQAS-IMP procedure accounts for imperfect sensitivity and specificity in system design; if the accuracy of a test is known, the use of LQAS-IMP extends LQAS to applications for indicators that are based on laboratory tests, such as COVID-19 antibodies.