The scientific staff of KARYO recently published in the prestigious, international, Hellenic Journal of Nuclear Medicine, a review of the diagnostic tests of the new coronavirus. See the article in pubmed (PMID: 32860390).


Hellenic Journal of Nuclear Medicine
2020; 23 (Suppl)
The Journal of the Hellenic Society of Nuclear Medicine

SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Tests Available to the Clinician

Paul Hadweh, Timoklia Orfanidou, Maria Tsiamita, Grigorios Timologos, Theofanis Papadopoulos

KARYO Ltd, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Ermou 51str, P.C 54623, Thessaloniki, Greece

Corresponding author:

Theofanis Papadopoulos, KARYO Ltd, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory,Ermou 51 str, P.C 54623, Thessaloniki, Greece, email:


On December 2019, a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emerged in China and spread worldwide, causing acute severe respiratory syndrome. Due to the increased transmission rate of the virus, it became of great importance the early diagnosis of the disease. The coronavirus pandemic led to the development of numerous tests in order to mass screening population for active viral load and for the identification of antibodies for epidemiological purposes. This review summarizes the different diagnostic tests available to the clinicians for the diagnosis and follow up of the SARS COV-2 infections.


On December 2019, a new coronavirus emerged in China and caused an acute respiratory disease now known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) [1]. The virus was identified to be a betacoronavirus related to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and thus was named SARS-CoV-2[2]. In less than two decades, this virus is the third known coronavirus to cross the species barrier and cause severe respiratory infections in humans after SARS-CoV in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, yet with unprecedented spread compared with the previous two viruses[3].

SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV have the largest positive-stranded RNA genomes among the RNA viruses (27-32kb) [4]. The genome of SARS-CoV-2 encodes 27 proteins, among whom the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDRP) as well as four structural proteins: small envelope protein (E), matrix protein (M), nucleocapsid protein (N) and spike surface glycoprotein (S) [5]. Among the structural proteins, the S glycoprotein is responsible for the virus binding to host cells by a cellular receptor [6]. A human protease is responsible for priming the S protein recognized by the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) engaged as a receptor for the entry of SARS-CoV-2 to the host cells [7].

SARS-CoV-2 is highly infectious. The incubation time varies between 4-8 days infecting people from all groups of age, with older people withcomorbidities being at higher risk [8]

Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is critical for epidemiological surveillance, but the accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) and clinical utility (impact on health outcomes) of the current diagnostic methods used for SARS-CoV-2 detection are not known.

This review summarizes the different diagnostic tests available to the clinicians for the diagnosis and follow up of the SARS COV-2 infections.