A Landscape Analysis of Laboratory Technologies for COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-Income Countries


Diagnostic tests for COVID-19 fall into three main categories: Molecular, Antigen, and Serological. Each category of tests comes with its own limitations, thus impacting how and where it can be used. Molecular tests based on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology are the current ‘gold standard’ for COVID-19 testing. However, their accuracy is determined by the viral load in an infected individual. They may miss out on detecting individuals at the early stages of infection and lower viral load. Similarly, serology and antigen tests have other important performance issues.

What are these limitations and thresholds for each of the technologies? How do these technologies work? A Landscape Analysis of Laboratory Technologies for COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Equipment, Reagents, and Supplies for Diagnostic Molecular, Antigen, and Serological Testing, provides the technological details of COVID-19 testing technologies based on a review of available literature. Highlighting the performance and appropriate use of available technologies, it is a complementary decision-support tool to the test dashboard.