The Diagnosis of SARS-CoV2 Pneumonia: A Review of Laboratory and Radiological Testing Results

J Med Virol. 2020 May 28;10.1002/jmv.26081. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26081. Online ahead of print.


The rapid emergence of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) has necessitated the implementation of diverse pandemic control strategies throughout the world. In order to effectively control the spread of this disease, it is essential that it be diagnosed at an early stage so that patients can be reliably quarantined such that disease spread will be slowed. At present, the diagnosis of this infectious form of coronavirus pneumonia is largely dependent upon a combination of laboratory testing and imaging analyses of variable diagnostic efficacy. In the present report, we reviewed prior literature pertaining to the diagnosis of different forms of pneumonia caused by coronaviruses (SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2) and assessed two different potential diagnostic approaches. We ultimately found that computed tomography (CT) was associated with a higher rate of diagnostic accuracy than was a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based approach (P = 0.0041), and chest radiography (P = 0.0100). Even so, it is important that clinicians utilize a combination of laboratory and radiological testing where possible in order to ensure that this virus is reliably and quickly detected such that it may be treated and patients may be isolated in a timely fashion, thereby effectively curbing the further progression of this pandemic. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Keywords: chest radiography; computed tomography; coronavirus disease 2019; coronavirus pneumonia; diagnosis; polymerase chain reaction.

Publication types

  • Review