COVID-19 Molecular Testing in Korea: Practical Essentials and Answers From Experts Based on Experiences of Emergency Use Authorization Assays

Ann Lab Med. 2020 Nov;40(6):439-447. doi: 10.3343/alm.2020.40.6.439. Epub 2020 Jun 17.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Early detection of COVID-19 and immediate isolation of infected patients from the naive population are important to prevent further pandemic spread of the infection. Real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA is currently the most reliable diagnostic method for confirming COVID-19 worldwide. Guidelines for clinical laboratories on the COVID-19 diagnosis have been recently published by Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, these formal guidelines do not address common practical laboratory issues related to COVID-19 real-time RT-PCR testing and their solutions. Therefore, this guideline is intended as a practical and technical supplement to the "Guidelines for Laboratory Diagnosis of COVID-19 in Korea".

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019; Guidelines; Korea; Laboratory diagnosis; Real-time RT-PCR.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / genetics
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • Guanidines / chemistry
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Nasopharynx / virology
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / genetics
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Oropharynx / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / genetics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Republic of Korea
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Thiocyanates / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viroporin Proteins


  • Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • E protein, SARS coronavirus
  • Guanidines
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Thiocyanates
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viroporin Proteins
  • nucleocapsid phosphoprotein, SARS-CoV-2
  • guanidine thiocyanate