Development, Validation and Interpretation of Testing for SARS-CoV-2


The presentation provides an overview of practical past and current issues in testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It includes discussion of the primary testing methodologies and ways in which the various platforms can be compared, with particular attention to issues of determining sensitivity of assays in low viral load specimens. Variant detection and sequencing are discussed, along with remaining testing needs for this and future viral pandemics.

Originally presented on February 1, 2021 for the annual Park City AP Update.

Originally published on March 8, 2021

Lecture Presenter

David R. Hillyard, MD

David R. Hillyard, MD

Professor of Pathology
University of Utah School of Medicine
Medical Director, Molecular Infectious Diseases
ARUP Laboratories

Dr. David R. Hillyard is the medical director of molecular infectious diseases at ARUP Laboratories and a professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Hillyard graduated with his medical degree from Columbia University. During his pathology residency at St. Luke’s—Roosevelt Hospital, he served as the chief resident. Following residency, he completed a microbial genetics fellowship and medical microbiology fellowship at the University of Utah School of Medicine. His research interests include molecular pathology and genetics, hepatitis, and HIV.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the key constraints in ramping up COVID-19 testing to meet the needs of the population
  • Discuss the significance of the crossing threshold for a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test result
  • Describe methods of comparing different assays for SARS-CoV-2
  • Describe the significance of SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants, along with potential surveillance approaches

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories