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Laboratory testing–Critical and indispensable for clinical decision-making

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on the way we perceive our world, and our everyday lives. The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time. The exponential increase in infected cases globally has created an unprecedented stress on the healthcare infrastructure and healthcare priorities of the world. Such an uproar necessitated nimble actions from everyone in the healthcare chain to adapt, innovate, and move fast. The need for testing protocols, testing centers, medical equipment to support critical care patients, and clinical trials for drugs and vaccines became the area of focus. Diagnostic testing in the clinical laboratory and at the point-of-care is playing a significant role in COVID-19 case identification, infection control, and disease management.

Laboratory testing not only helps limit the spread of COVID-19 by identifying those infected, but can also play a role in deciding the line of management and treatment for patients with serious infection. The current standard of diagnosing the SARS-CoV-2 infection are RT-PCR and antigen testing, whereas blood gas analysis, besides other clinical testing, is used for clinical monitoring of all patients affected by respiratory and/or systemic symptoms. The clinical decision-making can also be facilitated by the use of biomarkers. Biomarkers have been found to be vital  in helping predict clinical outcomes and correlate with the severity of disease. The levels of biomarkers vary, depending on the progression of the disease and its severity. Studying the varying levels and the values provides an early insight to the infection and help group patients having mild, severe, or critical symptoms, and plan for timely interventions. Few of the biomarkers that have shown frequent abnormalities in COVID-19 patients are D-dimer, procalcitonin (PCT), C-reactive protein (CRP), cardiac troponin, renal markers, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and others. As one example, elevated D-dimer at admission due to increased coagulation activity, is shown to be a risk factor (amongst others) for death of adult patients with COVID-19. The risk factors may help clinicians to identify patients with poor prognosis at an earlier stage.

It is time for IVD companies to illustrate the value of our solutions now, when it really matters. It is time to support the frontline fighters with solutions that could help enhance and expedite the process of clinical decision-making. Having access to fast, accurate, and reliable results is a boon during a pandemic by guiding healthcare professionals to make timely and well-informed decisions that have the potential to help improve patient care, and optimize patient flow in acute care settings.

We at Radiometer Medical have a proud history of providing blood gas analysis and immunoassay testing solutions to healthcare providers across the globe. Radiometer invented the first commercially available blood gas analyzer in 1954, following another health crisis–the polio epidemic. Our immunoassay-testing platform, AQT90 FLEX immunoassay analyzer, works to meet the critical demands of acute care testing with both whole-blood and plasma samples. It offers a comprehensive test menu for cardiac, coagulation, infection, and pregnancy markers that include Troponin I&T, D-dimer, NT-proBNP, PCT, and CRP. Timely diagnosis that allows early intervention is the key in critical care settings. Having a turnaround time of 11–21 minutes, with no requirement of sample preparation and minimal inventory, comes as a bonus. Complete flexibility of choosing one or up to five parameters from one patient sample gives the clinicians an added advantage, while supporting quality and regulatory needs within diagnostic testing.

With a lot of focus on building infrastructure to meet healthcare needs during the COVID-19 crisis, we ensure that we keep our mission of helping caregivers make diagnostic decisions that save lives as an utmost priority. With more than nine million people affected worldwide and more than 400,000 deaths, this pandemic needs an urgent collaboration to ensure that we have adequate infrastructure and medical facilities to cater to the exponentially increasing positive cases.

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