ABSTRACT •The laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is essentially based on three modalities. The reference method in lieu of viral culture is the molecular amplification assays, mostly by using the real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). However, due to its complexity, needed equipment and expertise as well as the high expense, other assay modalities have been introduced. These include antigen-based and antibody-based detection assays. This article provides a consolidated approach that will shed light on the different formats and utilities that these assays are intended for at this stage in time, addressing when, who, and what in the testing of COVID-19. It is worth noting that a combination of different assays is advisable to settle interpretation of test results to reflect the true scope of the patient’s condition.

Keywords: COVID-19; lab diagnosis; rapid testing

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