Advice on the use of point-of-care immunodiagnostic tests for COVID-19. Scientific Brief, 8 April 2020
World Health Organizations
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In response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic and shortages of laboratory-based molecular testing capacity and reagents, multiple diagnostic test manufacturers have developed and begun selling rapid and easy-to-use devices to facilitate testing outside of laboratory settings. These simple test kits are based either on detection of proteins from the COVID-19 virus in respiratory samples (e.g. sputum, throat swab) or detection, in blood or serum, of human antibodies generated in response to infection. WHO applauds the efforts of test developers to innovate and respond to the needs of the population. However, before these tests can be recommended, they must be validated in the appropriate populations and settings. Inadequate tests may miss patients with active infection or falsely categorize patients as having the disease when they do not, further hampering disease control efforts. At present, based on current evidence, WHO recommends the use of these new point-of-care immunodiagnostic tests only in research settings. They should not be used in any other setting, including for clinical decision-making, until evidence supporting use for specific indications is available. WHO continues to evaluate available immunodiagnostics tests for COVID-19 and will update this scientific brief when necessary...