Article Text

Download PDFPDF
COVID-19 rapid diagnostics: practice review


Point-of-care tests for SARS-CoV-2 could enable rapid rule-in and/or rule-out of COVID-19, allowing rapid and accurate patient cohorting and potentially reducing the risk of nosocomial transmission. As COVID-19 begins to circulate with other more common respiratory viruses, there is a need for rapid diagnostics to help clinicians test for multiple potential causative organisms simultaneously.

However, the different technologies available have strengths and weaknesses that must be understood to ensure that they are used to the benefit of the patient and healthcare system. Device performance is related to the deployed context, and the diagnostic characteristics may be affected by user experience.

This practice review is written by members of the UK’s COVID-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation programme. We discuss relative merits and test characteristics of various commercially available technologies. We do not advocate for any given test, and our coverage of commercially supplied tests is not intended to be exhaustive.

  • COVID-19
  • diagnosis
  • emergency department
  • infectious diseases

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.