What are the patient categories for viral testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)?

Updated: Jun 16, 2020
  • Author: Medscape Drugs & Diseases; more...
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Answer

Answer

There are five categories of individuals for viral testing (ie, nucleic acid or antigen tests) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), as follows [3] :

  • Individuals with signs or symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Asymptomatic individuals with recent known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to control transmission

  • Asymptomatic individuals without known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 for early identification in special settings

  • Determining resolution of infection (ie, test-based strategy for discontinuation of transmission-based precautions, healthcare personnel (HCP) return to work, and discontinuation of home isolation)

  • Public health surveillance for SARS-CoV-2

Discussion

Viral testing for SARS-CoV-2 is generally considered to be diagnostic when conducted among individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or among asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to control transmission, or to determine resolution of infection. [3]

Testing is considered to be surveillance when conducted among asymptomatic individuals without known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 for early identification, or to detect transmission hot spots or characterize disease trends. [3]


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