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Diagnosis

COVID-19 can provisionally be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms and confirmed using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of infected secretions or CT imaging of the chest.

Viral testing
The standard test for current infection with SARS-CoV-2 uses RNA testing of respiratory secretions collected using a nasopharyngeal swab, though it is possible to test other samples. This test uses real-time rRT-PCR which detects the presence of viral RNA fragments.

A number of laboratories and companies have developed serological tests, which detect antibodies produced by the body in response to infection. Several have been evaluated by Public Health England and approved for use in the UK.

On 22 June 2020, UK health secretary Matt Hancock announced the country would conduct a new "spit test" for COVID-19 on 14,000 key workers and their families in Southampton, having them spit in a pot, which was collected by Southampton University, with results expected within 48 hours. Hancock said the test was easier than using swabs, and could enable people to conduct it at home.

Imaging
Characteristic imaging features on chest radiographs and computed tomography (CT) of people who are symptomatic include asymmetric peripheral ground-glass opacities without pleural effusions. Many groups have created COVID-19 datasets that include imagery such as the Italian Radiological Society which has compiled an international online database of imaging findings for confirmed cases. Due to overlap with other infections such as adenovirus, imaging without confirmation by rRT-PCR is of limited specificity in identifying COVID-19. A large study in China compared chest CT results to PCR and demonstrated that though imaging is less specific for the infection, it is faster and more sensitive.

wikipedia.org

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