Diagnostic testing is key to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, and the earlier that SARS-CoV-2 infection can be detected, the better. Researchers from Hong Kong believe they may have found an assay that detects SARS-CoV-2 at a much earlier stage of infection.
The test detects the unique SARS-CoV-2 orf8 protein in the sera of COVID-19 patients, and they found that it's more sensitive and accurate than the conventional antinucleoprotein (anti-N) antibody detection.
In other stories in the Microbiology Community, the U.S. and other countries are rapidly speeding toward development of a COVID-19 vaccine. But once a vaccine is approved, who should get it first?
Healthcare workers will probably be the first to receive early supplies. But after that, early vaccine distribution will depend largely on the specific characteristics of the individual vaccines.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving demand for new laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), according to a new report from Kalorama Information, a sister company to LabPulse.com. Kalorama's publisher, Bruce Carlson, discussed recent growth in the LDT market and how it has changed during the pandemic.
COVID-19 tests are also driving new demand at urgent care centers, according to another Kalorama article we featured this month. Some three-fourths of the U.S. population lives within a 10-minute drive of an urgent care center, so this market is predicted to grow.
In a related story about LDTs, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) held a congressional briefing earlier this month to try to fend off efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to play a more active role in regulating the tests. The AACC believes that adding another regulatory layer to the role already played by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would be burdensome and could stymie the ability of labs to respond to new diseases like COVID-19.
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