Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Detecting the COVID-19

Version 1 : Received: 10 April 2020 / Approved: 12 April 2020 / Online: 12 April 2020 (16:50:05 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: ACS Sensors 2020
DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.0c01153


The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge damage to society and brought panics around the world. Such panics can be ascribed to the seemingly deceptive features of the COVID-19: compared to other deadly viral outspreads, it has medium transmission and mortality rates. As a result, the severity of this virus was deeply underestimated by the society at the beginning of the outbreak. Based on this, in this review, we define the viruses with features similar to those of COVID-19 as the Panic Zone viruses. To contain those viruses, accurate and fast diagnosis followed by effective isolation and treatment of patients are pivotal at the early stage of virus breakouts. This is especially true when there is no cure or vaccine available for a transmissible disease, which is the case for current COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 2020, more than one hundred kits for the COVID-19 diagnosis on the market are surveyed in this review. It is of critical importance to rationally use these kits for the efficient management and control of the Panic Zone viruses. Therefore, we discuss guidelines to select diagnostic kits at different outbreak stages of the Panic Zone viruses, COVID-19 in particular. While it is of utmost importance to use detection kits with low false negativity at the early stage of an outbreak, the low false positivity gains its importance at later stages of the outbreak. Finally, since a massive attack from a viral pandemic requires a massive defense from the whole society, we urge both government and private sectors to research and develop affordable point-of-care (POC) detection kits, which can be used massively by the general public (and therefore called as massive POC) to contain Panic Zone viruses in future.

Subject Areas

diagnosis; detection kits; RT-PCR; immunoassay; false negative; false positive; sensitivity; point-of-care (POC)

Comments (3)

Comment 1
Received: 13 April 2020
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: I am one of the authors and here is the Chinese abstract:
COVID-19的大流行给社会造成了巨大损害,并在全世界引发了恐慌。此类恐慌是由COVID-19的看似欺骗性特征引起:与其他致命的病毒传播相比,它具有中等传播率和死亡率。因此,这种病毒的严重程度在爆发初期被社会严重低估。在本文中,我们基于此将具有与COVID-19类似特征的病毒定义为恐慌区病毒 (Panic Zone virus)。为了控制这些病毒,在病毒爆发的早期阶段,准确,快速的诊断以及有效的隔离和治疗患者显得至关重要。当没有特效药或疫苗来有效阻止病毒传播时,这种做法尤为关键,COVID-19的大流行就是这种情况。截至2020年4月,我们调查并综述了市场上超过一百种用于COVID-19诊断的试剂盒。合理使用这些检测试剂盒来有效控制恐慌区病毒是目前要务。因此,我们讨论了在恐慌区病毒(尤其是COVID-19)不同爆发阶段选择不同诊断试剂盒的指南。尽管在爆发早期使用假阴性率低的检测试剂盒至关重要,但在爆发中后期要降低试剂盒的假阳性率。最后,由于病毒性大流行需要整个社会的大规模防御,因此我们敦促政府和私营部门研究开发便宜适用的即时检测试剂盒(POC, point-of-care)。提供给广大民众的这种检测试剂盒可以在整个社会进行大规模即时检测 (massive POC),从而有效遏制恐慌区病毒的传播。
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Comment 2
Received: 15 April 2020
Commenter: Y Cui
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: This provide useful information to people who are working on the development of new kits and methods for COVID detection. It is important to know where is the most secific and efficient target, this review gave a guidance.
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Comment 3
Received: 16 April 2020
Commenter: Philip Yangyuoru
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Great insight in recommending which test kit to use at different stages of the progression of the spread of infections. This is important given the scarcity of test kits as new kits are being developed for testing the COVID-19 virus.
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