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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Diagnostic Tools: A Focus on Detection Technologies and Limitations

Published: 20 July 2021
 by  MDPI
Current Issues in Molecular Biology , Volume 43, pp 728-748; doi:10.3390/cimb43020053

Abstract: The ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) poses a severe threat to human health and the global economy and has resulted in overwhelming stress on health care systems worldwide. Despite the global health catastrophe, especially in the number of infections and fatalities, the COVID-19 pandemic has also revolutionized research and discovery with remarkable success in diagnostics, treatments, and vaccine development. The use of many diagnostic methods has helped establish public health guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, limited information has been shared about these methods, and there is a need for the scientific community to learn about these technologies, in addition to their sensitivity, specificity, and limitations. This review article is focused on providing insights into the major methods used for SARS-CoV-2 detection. We describe in detail the core principle of each method, including molecular and serological approaches, along with reported claims about the rates of false negatives and false positives, the types of specimens needed, and the level of technology and the time required to perform each test. Although this study will not rank or prioritize these methods, the information will help in the development of guidelines and diagnostic protocols in clinical settings and reference laboratories.
Keywords: COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 / pandemics / diagnostic tools / PCR / LAMP / FICA / mNGS

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