Nearly every day since the onset of the SARS-C0V-2 outbreak, there have been stories in the national news about clinical laboratory testing for COVID-19. No laboratory professional alive today has seen such an endless stream of news stories about clinical lab testing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that could be quite favorable to the clinical lab profession.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of these news stories deal with negative aspects of lab testing. National news outlets are asking important questions. Are COVID-19 tests accurate? Can medical labs rapidly increase the number of COVID-19 tests to meet the ever-increasing demand for these assays? What is required so that anyone can get a COVID-19 test? Why does it take days or a week or more for labs to return COVID-19 test results?
News anchors are asking these questions on their broadcasts. But they almost never ask board-certified clinical pathologists to appear and explain what a clinical laboratory must do to produce accurate, reproducible
COVID-19 tests results. Instead, you’ve probably noticed that these daily news stories about the “problems” with COVID-19 testing feature a physician with no training in lab medicine. This is true, whether the national broadcast news outlet is ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.
This is the worst possible outcome for the clinical laboratory profession. At the very moment when the entire nation is following the daily count of the number of COVID-19 lab tests performed and what percent of those tests are positive, clinical pathologists and clinical lab scientists are invisible.
They are not on the national news programs to explain what is required to collect a proper specimen and what can happen to specimens between collection, the trip to the lab, and when they arrive at the bench for analysis.
Similarly, no clinical lab professional is on the nightly news explaining what a molecular COVID-19 test can and cannot do. That is even more true for explaining the complexities of serological COVID-19 testing.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire nation is at a “clinical lab moment” and The Dark Report is ready to help any lab professionals that want to organize some form of advocacy. Contact us with your ideas and resources that you would like to contribute to this effort.