Coronavirus Diagnosis: FAQs

Laboratory testing on respiratory specimens and serum of the patient are used by healthcare professionals for the diagnosis of coronavirus in humans.

The coronavirus is tested for by PCR, which was initially available in Atlanta, US, through CDC, but now has been made available globally. The CDC is shipping laboratory test kits for 2019-nCoV to global laboratories for detecting the virus.

Yes. The CDC developed a real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test for the 2019-nCoV diagnosis, using respiratory and serum samples. An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) package was submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for the test by the CDC, which was approved on 4 February 2020.

The CDC’s rRT-PCR diagnostic test is being distributed to qualified domestic public health laboratories and to international public health partners through International Reagent Resource (IRR).

The WHO has shipped 250,000 test kits to more than 159 reference laboratories globally to facilitate faster diagnosis and research, as of early-February.

Public Health Authorities across many countries have announced designated laboratories where diagnostic test kits have been made available for performing coronavirus tests.

Yes, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is equipping laboratories and training lab specialists in eight Caribbean regions for the COVID-19 diagnosis. The countries are Suriname, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Belize, Dominica, Bahamas, and Guyana.

The countries with no testing capability send the samples to COVID-19 referral laboratories designated by World Health Organisation (WHO) for testing. For rapid and free-of-cost samples shipment, WHO is utilising Shipping Fund Project established by the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).