COVID-19 and the clinical hematology laboratory

John L. Frater, Gina Zini, Giuseppe d’Onofrio, Heesun J. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. The etiologic agent is a novel coronavirus of presumed zoonotic origin with structural similarity to the viruses responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Like SARS and MERS, COVID-19 infection manifests most frequently with lower respiratory symptoms. A minority of patients progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome/ diffuse alveolar damage. In addition to its central role in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection, the clinical laboratory provides critical information to clinicians regarding prognosis, disease course, and response to therapy. The purpose of this review is to (a) provide background context about the origins and course of the pandemic, (b) discuss the laboratory's role in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection, (c) summarize the current state of biomarker analysis in COVID-19 infection, with an emphasis on markers derived from the hematology laboratory, (d) comment on the impact of COVID-19 on hematology laboratory safety, and (e) describe the impact the pandemic has had on organized national and international educational activities worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Laboratory Hematology
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • hematology
  • virus


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