A real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assay has been used to diagnose the virus in respiratory and serum samples from clinical specimens. In patients with suspected COVID-19, virus isolation in cell culture or initial characterization of viral agents recovered in cultures of specimens is not recommended, for biosafety reasons. Testing for other pathogens should be performed as part of the initial evaluation but should not delay testing for COVID-19.
According to current guidance from the CDC, local/state health departments should be immediately notified of patients with fever and lower respiratory illness whom they suspect may have COVID-19. The CDC further states that clinical specimens should be collected for routine testing of respiratory pathogens but that clinical laboratories should not attempt viral isolation from specimens collected from persons suspected to have COVID-19, unless performed in a BSL3 laboratory.
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Cite this: Michael Stuart Bronze. Fast Five Quiz: COVID-19 - Medscape - Mar 20, 2020.