Covid 19, SARS-CoV-2, Nucleic acid base testing, genome.


Aim: To show the currently available methods of laboratory diagnosis of the novel corona virus. Methods: Information was obtained from the WHO/CDC guidelines, internet search, journal articles, Entrez PubMed.

Results: Origin of SARS-CoV-2 was from Wuhan, China. It is a positive single stranded RNA virus belonging to the betacoronavirus. Mode of transmission after review was through droplet, airborne aerosol, direct and indirect contact through fomites. Affected patients may be asymptomatic and symptomatic ones present with fever, cough and shortness of breath. This results from the spike glycoprotein of the virus entering the body through ACE2 receptors to cause a cytokine storm. Challenges of setting up a laboratory testing was divided into preanalytical, analytical and post analytical including using the laboratory assessment tools (LAT); taking note of the risk assessment tools and laboratory bio security risks involved. Type of specimens collected include nasopharngeal/ oropharngeal swabs, blood etc. Nucleic acid base testing for the genome of SARS-CoV-2 was recommended.

Conclusion: Covid 19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 which is transmitted by droplets, aerosols and by contact. Main diagnostic test is by molecular Nucleic acid base from nasopharngeal swabs. Infection prevention and control measures are key to containing the virus. No vaccine has been produced so far