Molecular, serological, and biochemical diagnosis and monitoring of COVID-19: IFCC taskforce evaluation of the latest evidence

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2020 Jun 25;58(7):1037-1052. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2020-0722.


The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has presented major challenges for clinical laboratories, from initial diagnosis to patient monitoring and treatment. Initial response to this pandemic involved the development, production, and distribution of diagnostic molecular assays at an unprecedented rate, leading to minimal validation requirements and concerns regarding their diagnostic accuracy in clinical settings. In addition to molecular testing, serological assays to detect antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are now becoming available from numerous diagnostic manufacturers. In both cases, the lack of peer-reviewed data and regulatory oversight, combined with general misconceptions regarding their appropriate use, have highlighted the importance of laboratory professionals in robustly validating and evaluating these assays for appropriate clinical use. The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) Task Force on COVID-19 has been established to synthesize up-to-date information on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and laboratory diagnosis and monitoring of COVID-19, as well as to develop practical recommendations on the use of molecular, serological, and biochemical tests in disease diagnosis and management. This review summarizes the latest evidence and status of molecular, serological, and biochemical testing in COVID-19 and highlights some key considerations for clinical laboratories operating to support the global fight against this ongoing pandemic. Confidently this consolidated information provides a useful resource to laboratories and a reminder of the laboratory's critical role as the world battles this unprecedented crisis.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; biochemical monitoring; molecular testing; serology testing.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity
  • Biomarkers
  • Clinical Laboratory Services / trends
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Coronavirus / pathogenicity
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / trends
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2