Conventional and Novel Diagnostic Tools for the Diagnosis of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants
Accurate identification at an early stage of infection is critical for effective care of any infectious disease. The “coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)” outbreak, caused by the virus “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”, corresponds to the current and global pandemic, characterized by several developing variants, many of which are classified as variants of concern (VOCs) by the “World Health Organization (WHO, Geneva, Switzerland)”. The primary diagnosis of infection is made using either the molecular technique of RT-PCR, which detects parts of the viral genome’s RNA, or immunodiagnostic procedures, which identify viral proteins or antibodies generated by the host. As the demand for the RT-PCR test grew fast, several inexperienced producers joined the market with innovative kits, and an increasing number of laboratories joined the diagnostic field, rendering the test results increasingly prone to mistakes. It is difficult to determine how the outcomes of one unnoticed result could influence decisions about patient quarantine and social isolation, particularly when the patients themselves are health care providers. The development of point-of-care testing helps in the rapid in-field diagnosis of the disease, and such testing can also be used as a bedside monitor for mapping the progression of the disease in critical patients. In this review, we have provided the readers with available molecular diagnostic techniques and their pitfalls in detecting emerging VOCs of SARS-CoV-2, and lastly, we have discussed AI-ML- and nanotechnology-based smart diagnostic techniques for SARS-CoV-2 detection.
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