Rapid Identification of Pandemics
Are we better prepared today to identify unknown pathogens with pandemic potential?
A recent press release from Dr. Andrew S. Thompson, GlobalData's senior analyst, says yes -- but cautiously. A new coronavirus strain originating from the Arabian Peninsula is in the news, and thanks to advances in molecular diagnostics, Dr. Thompson said the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency published a partial genomic sequence of the variant, revealing that the new virus is less similar to SARS than was originally thought.
The technical capabilities of DNA sequencing platforms has vastly improved in recent years -- and the cost has fallen dramatically. "This rapid progress in being able to establish a clinical molecular test for the London coronavirus will greatly aid the future identification of affected individuals, and will go some way to helping develop more rapid point-of-care tests," Dr. Thompson said. Although the diagnostic capabilities in a traditional lab have greatly improved, improvements are still needed in point-of-care diagnostics for first responders. Such advances will play a significant role in managing the spread of disease.
As SARS and H1N1 have proven in recent years, pandemic outbreaks are very possible. What proactive measures does your lab take to prepare for such a pandemic?