A new virus was identified in late December 2019 when China reported the first cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, and a global COVID-19 pandemic followed. The world was not late to respond, with a number of sweeping measures ranging from social distancing protocols, stringent hygienic practices, and nation-wide lockdowns, as well as COVID-19 testing campaigns in an attempt to prevent the transmission of the disease and contain the pandemic. Currently, different types of diagnostic testing have been adopted globally, such as nucleic acid detection tests, immunological tests and imaging approaches; however, real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) remains the “gold standard” for detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Pre-analytical factors, such as specimen selection and collection, are crucial for RT-PCR, and any suboptimal collection may contribute to false-negative results. Herein, we address some of the specimen types that have been used in molecular detection methods for COVID-19. However, the pandemic is still evolving, and information might change as more studies are conducted.
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