What Do We Need to Know to Improve Diagnostic Testing Methods for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

Cureus. 2020 May 24;12(5):e8263. doi: 10.7759/cureus.8263.


There is widespread agreement that reliable, fast, and easy-to-produce diagnostic testing methods that have high sensitivity and specificity are essential for guiding appropriate responses to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak. At the present time, there are important unanswered questions about testing methods for SARS-CoV-2. This review article interprets recent findings related to the principal testing methods used to diagnose SARS-CoV-2, including reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), chest imaging, and immunoassay. We discuss the value and limitations of these approaches and suggest directions for future research that can advance the understanding of diagnostic methods. Addressing areas of uncertainty will improve clinical outcomes and allow more effective policies to be implemented to control the disease.

Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus; coronavirus; covid-19; diagnostic testing; sars-cov-2; testing methods.

Publication types

  • Review