Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
New SARS-CoV-2 rapid tests, which can deliver results in a matter of minutes in the field rather than taking days in clinical diagnostic labs, are starting to become widely available. They are based on a variety of technologies and formats, both old and new: conventional antigen-based tests for detecting viral proteins; polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for detecting viral genomic material; and newer CRISPR-based diagnostic tests, which also detect viral genomes but in fewer steps and dispensing with PCR machines.