Review of current in vitro COVID-19 diagnostics methods

J Infect Dev Ctries. 2022 Sep 30;16(9):1376-1384. doi: 10.3855/jidc.16378.


The diagnosis of COVID-19 is considered a significant step in the management of the disease that is causing a major worldwide public health challenge from the time of its emergence in December 2019. Since it has been established that SARS-CoV-2 spreads rapidly, timely detection of the positive cases and isolation of such individuals and their contacts helps in containing viral transmission. In this paper, we review the in vitro technology platforms for testing and diagnosing COVID-19 patients: molecular tests, rapid antigen tests, and serology tests. As part of our review of each category of tests, we discuss the commercialized testing platforms, their analyzing systems, specimen collection protocols, and testing methodologies. Moreover, the efficacy and limitations of each technique are also discussed. The key structural components of the virus are presented to provide an understanding of the scientific principles behind the testing tools.

Keywords: COVID-19; antigen; diagnostic tests; molecular assay.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Serologic Tests / methods