The critical role of laboratory medicine during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other viral outbreaks

Giuseppe Lippi, Mario Plebani
2020 Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine  
Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated to COVID-19 and sustained by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the latest biological hazard to assume the relevance of insidious worldwide threat. One obvious question that is now engaging the minds of many scientists and healthcare professionals is whether and eventually how laboratory medicine could efficiently contribute to counteract this and other (future) viral outbreaks. Despite there being evidence that laboratory
more » ... ce that laboratory tests are vital throughout many clinical pathways, there are at least three major areas where in vitro diagnostics can also provide essential contributions to diagnostic reasoning and managed care of patients with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. These include etiological diagnosis, patient monitoring, as well as epidemiologic surveillance. Nonetheless, some structural and practical aspects may generate substantial hurdles in providing timely and efficient response to this infectious emergency, which basically include inadequate (insufficient) environment and shortage of technical and human resources for facing enhanced volume of tests on many infected patients, some of whom are with severe disease. Some proactive and reactive strategies may hence be identified to confront this serious healthcare challenge, which entail major investments on conventional laboratory resources, reinforcement of regional networks of clinical laboratories, installation of mobile laboratories, as well as being proactive in establishing laboratory emergency plans.
doi:10.1515/cclm-2020-0240 pmid:32191623 fatcat:udtz4okxrvai5btamysftr7vyq