News Release

The value of diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2: When, whom, what and how often to test?

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Society for Microbiology

Washington, DC - March 27, 2020 - As we enter the second quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with testing for SARS-CoV-2 increasingly available (though still limited and slow in some areas), clinicians and public health officials are faced with new questions and challenges regarding testing for this novel virus. Since SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, there is little evidence to fall back on for test utilization and diagnostic stewardship. New research published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, addresses the potential uses of two main types of tests.

ASM convened a summit of coronavirus experts on Monday, March 23rd, who summarized the value and potential uses of two types of tests for SARS-CoV-2, nucleic acid amplification tests for viral RNA and antibody detection tests. The authors, including ASM CEO Stefano Bertuzzi and ASM President Robin Patel, also spoke at a press conference the following day and offered recommendations and limitations for both types of tests.


The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

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