Diagnosing COVID-19: The Disease and Tools for Detection

ACS Nano. 2020 Apr 28;14(4):3822-3835. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.0c02624. Epub 2020 Mar 30.


COVID-19 has spread globally since its discovery in Hubei province, China in December 2019. A combination of computed tomography imaging, whole genome sequencing, and electron microscopy were initially used to screen and identify SARS-CoV-2, the viral etiology of COVID-19. The aim of this review article is to inform the audience of diagnostic and surveillance technologies for SARS-CoV-2 and their performance characteristics. We describe point-of-care diagnostics that are on the horizon and encourage academics to advance their technologies beyond conception. Developing plug-and-play diagnostics to manage the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak would be useful in preventing future epidemics.

Keywords: COVID-19; PCR; SARS-CoV-2; diagnostics; pandemic; surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Point-of-Care Testing*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Smartphone*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Viral Proteins / analysis


  • Viral Proteins

Grant support