Molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 in different biologic matrix, their diagnostic validity and clinical relevance: A systematic review

Life Sci. 2020 Oct 1;258:118207. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118207. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


Due to COVID 19 outbreak many studies are being conducted for therapeutic strategies and vaccines but detection methods play an important role in the containment of the disease. Hence, this systematic review aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the molecular detection techniques in COVID-19. For framing the systematic review 6 literature databases (PubMed, EMBASE, OVID, Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar) were searched for relevant studies and articles were screened for relevant content till 25th April 2020. Observations from this systematic review reveal the utility of RT-PCR with serological testing as one such method cannot correlate with accurate results. Availability of point of care devices do not conform to sensitivity and specificity in comparison to the conventional methods due to lack of clinical investigations. Pivotal aim of molecular and serological research is the development of detection methods that can support the clinical decision making of patients suspected with SARS-CoV-2. However, none of the methods were 100% sensitive and specific; hence additional studies are required to overcome the challenges addressed here. We hope that the present article with its observations and suggestions will assist the researchers to realize this vision in future.

Keywords: COVID-19; Pandemic; Point-of-care devices; RT-PCR; SARS-CoV-2; Serology testing.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques* / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Point-of-Care Testing
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / instrumentation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sensitivity and Specificity