COVID-19 cases were first reported in December 2019, and since then it has spread quickly to create a global pandemic. This respiratory disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A major contributing factor for the fast spread of this virus is that the infectivity by the asymptomatic carriers is similar to symptomatic patients. Thus, to identify the asymptomatic individuals and to provide the essential treatment and care to COVID-19 patients, we rely heavily on diagnostic assays. Efficient, reproducible and accessible diagnostic tests are crucial in combatting a pandemic. Currently, there are few key detection tests which have been successfully employed to field-use. However, there are constant efforts to enhance their efficacy and accessibility. This chapter aims at explaining the basic principles of the current molecular diagnostic tests, which determine the presence of the virus through the detection of its genetic material. This chapter will aid the readers in understanding the basic workings of these molecular diagnostic tests.
Part of the book: Biotechnology to Combat COVID-19