How do they diagnose coronavirus in patients?

Since we at Makerspace like to know how things work, I found a paper detailing how government approved diagnostic labs actually test patient samples for the 2019-Novel Coronavirus.

In a nutshell, they use real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to amplify two regions of the viral RNA, plus a control sample of human RNA (to verify the amplification worked). The same machine detects if the RNA was actually amplified.

And here is how real-time PCR works:


BTW we actually have two conventional PCR machines collecting dust in the Science area.

Here’s the difference between conventional PCR and real-time PCR:

We couldn’t do coronavirus testing, but we could check to see if a potato is genetically modified or not: