Making Sense of Coronavirus Testing

Clinical laboratory testing is playing a critical role in efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it’s by diagnosing patients with the novel coronavirus or screening the general public to determine the full extent of the outbreak. The Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (formerly AACC) asked leading laboratory experts to answer the most common questions about COVID-19 testing that we’ve been hearing from the public, so that people can better understand the testing for this virus and make informed decisions if they ever need to seek it out.


New item icon When Should You Get Tested for COVID-19?

If you are unsure of whether or not you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and you don’t have any symptoms yet, the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (ADLM) Past President Dr. Carmen Wiley discusses how to determine whether you should get tested for the virus.



New item icon Does Wearing a Face Covering Really Stop COVID-19?

As scientists learn more about how COVID-19 spreads, Dr. Wiley explains how the benefits of wearing a mask have become increasingly clear—not just to protect ourselves, but to proactively protect those around us.



How Would Pooled Testing Work for COVID-19?

As supply shortages continue to hamper COVID-19 testing, Dr. Wiley explains how pooled testing could enable clinical labs to process more tests while saving the materials needed to run them.



Getting Tested for COVID-19 After Protesting

Medical experts support the ongoing protests against racist police killings and brutality, but experts do also worry these protests could increase coronavirus spread. If you participate in the protests, Dr. Wiley discusses how you can do so as safely as possible.



Are Antigens the Answer to Coronavirus Testing?

Now that lab experts are developing COVID-19 antigen tests, Dr. Wiley explains how these tests work. Compared with current coronavirus tests, these new tests will be easier to scale up and offer widely—but will they also be less accurate?



Why is it so hard to get tested for COVID-19?

Dr. Wiley sheds light on why testing capacity remains frustratingly limited, explaining that shortages of crucial supplies are a significant obstacle to widespread testing—and what the federal government can do to remedy this issue.



What is PCR testing for COVID-19?

Dr. Wiley gives an overview of PCR testing, which is the most common type of test for COVID-19 and the one that patients are currently most likely to encounter.



Antibodies and COVID-19: Explained

ADLM President Dr. David Grenache discusses what we know so far about the body’s immune response to COVID-19, and why the presence of antibodies to the novel coronavirus doesn’t yet tell us whether or not a person is immune.



How do serology tests work for COVID-19?

Dr. Grenache addresses the growing push for COVID-19 antibody testing, bringing much-needed clarity to the question of what these tests can—and can’t—do.


Meet the Experts

ADLM Past President Dr. Carmen Wiley is the medical director of clinical labs at Incyte Diagnostics in Spokane, Washington.

ADLM President Dr. David Grenache serves as chief scientific officer at TriCore Reference Laboratories and as a clinical professor of pathology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

(Note: As you'll see in the videos, at the time of filming, Dr. Wiley was ADLM President and Dr. Grenache was ADLM President-Elect.)

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