Publication date: Sep 01, 2023
Background: Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) could aid the diagnosis of acute respiratory infections (ARI) owing to its affordability and high-throughput capacity. MALDI-MS has been proposed for use on commonly available respiratory samples, without specialized sample preparation, making this technology especially attractive for implementation in low-resource regions. Here, we assessed the utility of MALDI-MS in differentiating SARS-CoV-2 versus non-COVID acute respiratory infections (NCARI) in a clinical lab setting of Kazakhstan. Methods: Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from in- and outpatients with respiratory symptoms and from asymptomatic controls (AC) in 2020-2022. PCR was used to differentiate SARS-CoV-2+ and NCARI cases. MALDI-MS spectra were obtained for a total of 252 samples (115 SARS-CoV-2+, 98 NCARI and 39 AC) without specialized sample preparation. In our first sub-analysis, we followed a published protocol for peak preprocessing and Machine Learning (ML), trained on publicly available spectra from South American SARS-CoV-2+ and NCARI samples. In our second sub-analysis, we trained ML models on a peak intensity matrix representative of both South American (SA) and Kazakhstan (Kaz) samples. Results: Applying the established MALDI-MS pipeline “as is” resulted in a high detection rate for SARS-CoV-2+ samples (91.0%), but low accuracy for NCARI (48.0%) and AC (67.0%) by the top-performing random forest model. After re-training of the ML algorithms on the SA-Kaz peak intensity matrix, the accuracy of detection by the top-performing Support Vector Machine with radial basis function kernel model was at 88.0, 95.0 and 78% for the Kazakhstan SARS-CoV-2+, NCARI, and AC subjects, respectively with a SARS-CoV-2 vs. rest ROC AUC of 0.983 [0.958, 0.987]; a high differentiation accuracy was maintained for the South American SARS-CoV-2 and NCARI. Conclusions: MALDI-MS/ML is a feasible approach for the differentiation of ARI without a specialized sample preparation. The implementation of MALDI-MS/ML in a real clinical lab setting will necessitate continuous optimization to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape of ARI.
|disease||VO||Respiratory syncytial virus|