View Knowledge Base - Landscape Coronavirus Disease 2019 test (COVID-19 test) in vitro -- A comparison of PCR vs Immunoassay vs Crispr-Based test>>

Huajun Bai1 Xiaolong Cai1, 2*  Xiaoyan Zhang1
1. R&D Center, GeneMedi Co.Ltd., Shanghai, P.R. China (
2. Hanbio Research Center, Hanbio Tech Co. Ltd., Shanghai, P.R. China (

The outbreak of COVID-19, caused by 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), has been a global public health threat and caught the worldwide concern. Scientists throughout the world are sparing all efforts to explore strategies for the determination of the 2019-nCoV virus and diagnosis of COVID-19 rapidly. Several assays are developed for COVID-19 test , including RT-PCR, coronavirus antigens-based immunoassays, and CRISPR-based strategies (Cas13a or Cas12a), etc. Different assays have their advantages and drawbacks, and people should choose the most suitable assay according to their demands. Here, we make a brief introduction about these assays and give a simple overview of them, hoping to help doctors and researchers to select the most suitable assay for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 test (COVID-19 test) .

Comparison of PCR vs Immunoassay vs Crispr-Based test

Among the three methods for COVID-19 test, IgM/IgG point-of-care lateral flow test is the simplest and most rapid regardless of professional skill, and cost the least time with no requirement of additional instruments. Based on the detection of viral RNA, CRISPR-based tests are simpler and easier than RT-PCR test with no need for bulky instruments and complicated operations.

Methods RT-PCR Immunoassay based point-of-care lateral flow test CRISPR-based test
Specificity High High High
Consumption time 4-6 hours Within 15 min Within 1 hour
Bulky instrumentation Required No requirement No requirement
Disadvantage False negative result may occur due to improper handling Long term needed for antibody generation after infection Off-targets may exist
Cost High Low Low
Target Different departments have various targets, such as Orf1ab, N gene, E gene IgM/IgG against SARS-CoV-2 SHERLOCK system: Orf1ab, S gene; DETECTR system: E gene and N gene.
Sample Urine, blood, saliva, specimen from respiratory, etc. Blood Urine, blood, saliva, etc.

Table 4 A summary and comparison of different strategies for COVID-19 test.


Tribute to the medical staff fighting against the COVID-19 all over the world. Thanks for the helps from our colleagues from Hanbio Tech Co. Ltd., Shanghai, P.R. China ( and GeneMedi Co.Ltd., Shanghai, P.R. China ( respectively.


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