During the COVID-19 pandemic, an often-heard refrain in the arena of public health was “Testing, testing, testing!”. Testing for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in patients with symptoms or potential exposure, or for the presence of antibodies to the virus in patients who had recovered from the disease, took on vital importance in efforts to curb its spread. Last fall, the NIH Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) expanded its scope to include molecular and serology tests for microorganisms impacting human health and disease. It now contains 70+ tests for COVID-19.
There are 54 molecular genetic tests that detect viral RNA from individual samples or pools using nucleic acid amplification technologies. While most of the tests detect the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA alone, 8 tests detect multiple bacterial or viral markers as part of a panel. Two tests detect viral variants in a targeted variant analysis of the whole viral genome. Sixteen serologic tests detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.
With over 77K human genetic and microbe tests voluntarily submitted by participating laboratories, GTR aims to enhance the transparency of available tests by including detailed information on the purpose, methodology, availability, and validity of tests. The information in GTR is available online and is free to everyone. GTR’s centralized repository of data for COVID-19 tests facilitates speedy, informed decision making by healthcare providers. As the number and variety of tests grows, it serves to guide future research on diagnostic and serology tests for COVID-19.
A sincere thank you goes out to all participating laboratories for submitting laboratory and test descriptions to the registry. GTR welcomes submissions of new laboratories and tests. If your laboratory performs COVID-19 testing, here is how you can participate in GTR: Log into the Submission Portal and register your lab in GTR. GTR staff will be ready to guide you with your submissions. You can submit test data through the Submission Portal user interface or by using spreadsheet templates. GTR plans to support test submissions via an application programming interface (API) in the coming months. If you have any questions or want to give us feedback, write to us.