Due to the high infectious potential and the high mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2, rapid and reliable diagnostic methods are needed for prompt detection of COVID-19. However, sensitivities of SARS-CoV-2 PCR methods are difficult to determine because those are currently seen as a gold standard for diagnosis. Different sensitivities mentioned in the literature have been determined by comparing different brands of PCR or by comparing sensitivities of PCR in different types of samples (broncho-alveolar fluid, sputum, nasopharyngeal swab).
The current study aims to give clinicians a better understanding in the value (sensitivities and specificities) of PCR, serology, radiology and clinical signs as diagnostic tools. This could lead to a more accurate interpretation of different diagnostic results and a more qualitative and faster isolation or interruption of isolation of suspected COVID-19 infected patients. This might have a beneficial impact on the transmission of the virus in the hospital setting, on the capacity of the hospital and on the appropriate use of protective personal equipment (PPE). First, diagnostic improvements will undoubtedly lead to less unprotected exposure of health workers and fragile patients to COVID-19 positive patients. Secondly, rapid turnover could be realized by a faster recognition and discharge of COVID-19 negative patients to non-COVID-19 wards. Finally, it can be speculated that prompt identification of true negative patien may reduce the unappropriated utilize of PPE.
A better understanding of the value of diagnostics is also fundamental for epidemiological reporting of COVID-diagnoses: more accurate diagnostics and diagnostic definitions will lead to a better view on the epidemiological spread of the virus.

Effectieve start/einddatum1/05/2031/10/20

Flemish discipline codes

  • Diagnostics not elsewhere classified