Recent advances and challenges of RT-PCR tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19

Link to article at PubMed

Pathol Res Pract. 2021 Apr 14;221:153443. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2021.153443. Online ahead of print.


Since the outbreak of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the control of virus spread has remained challenging given the pitfalls of the current diagnostic tests. Nevertheless, RNA amplification techniques have been the gold standard among other diagnostic methods for monitoring clinical samples for the presence of the virus. In the current paper, we review the shortcomings and strengths of RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) techniques for diagnosis of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19. We address the repercussions of false-negative and false-positive rates encountered in the test, summarize approaches to improve the overall sensitivity of this method. We discuss the barriers to the widespread use of the RT-PCR test, and some technical advances, such as RT-LAMP (reverse-transcriptase-loop mediated isothermal amplification). We also address how other molecular techniques, such as immunodiagnostic tests can be used to avoid incorrect interpretation of RT-PCR tests.

PMID:33930607 | DOI:10.1016/j.prp.2021.153443

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