Molecular diagnostic assays for COVID-19: an overview

Parham Habibzadeh, Mohammad Mofatteh, Mohammad Silawi, Saeid Ghavami, Mohammad Ali Faghihi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the cardinal importance of rapid and accurate diagnostic assays. Since the early days of the outbreak, researchers with different scientific backgrounds across the globe have tried to fulfill the urgent need for such assays, with many assays having been approved and with others still undergoing clinical validation. Molecular diagnostic assays are a major group of tests used to diagnose COVID-19. Currently, the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is the most widely used method. Other diagnostic molecular methods, including CRISPR-based assays, isothermal nucleic acid amplification methods, digital PCR, microarray assays, and next generation sequencing (NGS), are promising alternatives. In this review, we summarize the technical and clinical applications of the different COVID-19 molecular diagnostic assays and suggest directions for the implementation of such technologies in future infectious disease outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCritical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • molecular diagnostic techniques
  • nucleic acid amplification techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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