Choice of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test: challenges and key considerations for the future

Academic Article


  • A plethora of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) diagnostic tests are available, each with different performance specifications, detection methods, and targets. This narrative review aims to summarize the diagnostic technologies available and how they are best selected to tackle SARS-CoV-2 infection as the pandemic evolves. Seven key settings have been identified where diagnostic tests are being deployed: symptomatic individuals presenting for diagnostic testing and/or treatment of COVID-19 symptoms; asymptomatic individuals accessing healthcare for planned non-COVID-19-related reasons; patients needing to access emergency care (symptom status unknown); patients being discharged from healthcare following hospitalization for COVID-19; healthy individuals in both single event settings (e.g. airports, restaurants, hotels, concerts, and sporting events) and repeat access settings (e.g. workplaces, schools, and universities); and vaccinated individuals. While molecular diagnostics remain central to SARS-CoV-2 testing strategies, we have offered some discussion on the considerations for when other tools and technologies may be useful, when centralized/point-of-care testing is appropriate, and how the various additional diagnostics can be deployed in differently resourced settings. As the pandemic evolves, molecular testing remains important for definitive diagnosis, but increasingly widespread point-of-care testing is essential to the re-opening of society.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Baldanti F; Ganguly NK; Wang G; Möckel M; O’Neill LA; Renz H; dos Santos Ferreira CE; Tateda K; Van Der Pol B
  • Start Page

  • 445
  • End Page

  • 459
  • Volume

  • 59
  • Issue

  • 7