The diagnostic methods in the COVID-19 pandemic, today and in the future

So Yat Wu, Hoi Shan Yau, Man Yee Yu, Hin Fung Tsang, Lawrence Wing Chi Chan, William Chi Shing Cho, Allen Chi Shing Yu, Aldrin Kay Yuen Yim, Marco J.W. Li, Yin Kwan Evelyn Wong, Xiao Meng Pei, Sze Chuen Cesar Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The emergence of anovel coronavirus identified in patients with unknown cause of acute respiratory disease in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019 has caused aglobal outbreak. The causative coronavirus was later named as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was named as Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19). As of 10 August 2020, more than 19,718,030 confirmed cases and 728,013 deaths have been reported. COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets which are inhaled into the lungs. Areas covered: In this article, we summarized the knowledge about the causative pathogen of COVID-19 and various diagnostic methods in this pandemic for better understanding of the limitations and the nuances of virus testing for COVID-19. Expert opinion: In this pandemic, rapid and accurate identification of COVID-19 patients are critical to break the chain of infection in the community. RT-PCR provides a rapid and reliable identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the future, molecular diagnostics will still be the gold standard and next-generation sequencing can help us to understand more on the pathogenesis and detect novel mutations. It is believed that more sophisticated detection methods will be introduced to detect SARS-CoV-2 as earliest as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-993
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number9
Early online date16 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • coronavirus Disease-2019
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 diagnosis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this