The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases have created a major crisis for public health systems. The critical identification of contagious asymptomatic carriers requires the isolation of viral nucleic acids, reverse transcription, and amplification by PCR. However, the shortage of specific proprietary reagents or the lack of automated platforms have seriously hampered diagnostic throughput in many countries. Here, we provide a procedure for SARS-CoV-2 detection for diagnostic purposes from clinical samples in the setting of a basic research molecular biology lab. The procedure details the necessary steps for daily analysis of up to 500 clinical samples with a team composed of 12 experienced researchers. The protocol has been designed to rely on widely available reagents and devices, to cope with heterogeneous clinical specimens, to guarantee nucleic acid extraction from very scarce biological material, and to minimize the rate of false-negative results.