Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 PCR Testing

Mayo Clinic Laboratories has developed testing that can aid in the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19 using a technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The following addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about this testing. 

Q: What Mayo Clinic Laboratories tests are currently available to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection?



Q: What is the difference between these tests? When should one be ordered vs. another?

Tests are used to detect the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. We have enabled options to help us add testing capacity for providers around the world. The tests work equally well in detecting the COVID-19 virus. Your Mayo Clinic Laboratories representative will provide guidance on which test should be ordered by your institution. 

Q: Does a positive result mean a patient has COVID-19?

A detected result indicates that SARS-CoV-2 RNA is present and suggests the diagnosis of COVID-19. Test results should always be considered in the context of a patient’s clinical history, physical examination, and epidemiologic exposures when making the final diagnosis. 

Q: Who should order this test?

This test should be requested only on patients who meet current clinical and/or epidemiologic criteria defined by federal, state, or local public health directives. Visit the CDC website for guidelines. 

Q: Does Mayo Clinic Laboratories offer a combination COVID-19 and influenza test? 

Mayo Clinic Laboratories offers a test (Mayo ID: COFLU) that provides simultaneous qualitative detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, influenza A RNA, and influenza B RNA in upper respiratory tract specimens from patients with flu-like illness that may be due to COVID-19 and/or influenza.