Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 by viral RNA or protein detection in respiratory specimens supports decision making for clinical, infection control or public health management.
SARS-CoV-2 detection can also be used for screening close contacts for asymptomatic infection and disease as part of contact tracing or outbreak investigations.
Testing is also used to screen for infection in crucial target groups like healthcare and social workers as part of local surveillance programmes.
Apart from real-time use for medical or public health case management and transmission control, virus detection tests are used for policy-oriented surveillance purposes to monitor the epidemiologic situation in terms of incidence and prevalence of infection and disease.