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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Emergency medicine journal : EMJ

Publication Date





70 - 76