Ann Lab Med 2020; 40(5): 351-360
Guidelines for Laboratory Diagnosis of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Korea
Ki Ho Hong, M.D.1,*, Sang Won Lee, Ph.D.2,*, Taek Soo Kim, M.D.3, Hee Jae Huh, M.D.4, Jaehyeon Lee, M.D.5, So Yeon Kim, M.D.6, Jae-Sun Park, Ph.D.2, Gab Jung Kim, Ph.D.2, Heungsup Sung, M.D.7, Kyoung Ho Roh, M.D.8, Jae-Seok Kim, M.D.9, Hyun Soo Kim, M.D.9, Seung-Tae Lee, M.D.10, Moon-Woo Seong, M.D.3, Namhee Ryoo, M.D.11, Hyukmin Lee, M.D.10, Kye Chul Kwon, M.D.12, and Cheon Kwon Yoo, Ph.D.2
On behalf of
Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine, COVID-19 Task Force and the Center for Laboratory Control of Infectious Diseases, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul, Korea; 2Center for Laboratory Control of Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Osong, Korea; 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea; 4Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 5Department of Laboratory Medicine, Jeonbuk National University Medical School and Hospital, Jeonju, Korea; 6Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea; 7Department of Laboratory Medicine, Asan Medical Center and University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 8Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Health Insurance Service, Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea; 9Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea; 10Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 11Department of Laboratory Medicine, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea; 12Department of Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea
Corresponding author: Hyukmin Lee, M.D.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 50-1 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03722, Korea
Tel: +82-2-2228-2446
Fax: +82-2-313-0956

Cheon Kwon Yoo, Ph.D.
Center for Laboratory Control of Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Osong Health Technology Administration Complex, 187 Osongsaengmyeong 2-ro, Osonge-eup, Heungdeok-gu, Cheongju 28159, Korea
Tel: +82-43-719-8100
Fax: +82-43-719-8149

* These authors equally contributed to this study.
Received: March 16, 2020; Revised: March 17, 2020; Accepted: March 25, 2020; Published online: September 1, 2020.
© Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which began in December 2019, is still ongoing in Korea, with >9,000 confirmed cases as of March 25, 2020. COVID-19 is a severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, and real-time reverse transcription-PCR is currently the most reliable diagnostic method for COVID-19 around the world. Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine and the Korea Centers for Disease Prevention and Control propose guidelines for diagnosing COVID-19 in clinical laboratories in Korea. These guidelines are based on other related domestic and international guidelines, as well as expert opinions and include the selection of test subjects, selection of specimens, diagnostic methods, interpretation of test results, and biosafety.
Keywords: COVID-19, Outbreak, Laboratory diagnosis, Guidelines, Korea

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