For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated LabPulse.com's top 10 stories of the year, based on member views. Eight of the 10 stories on the list directly relate to the pandemic or the effects of the coronavirus.
At the top of the list is a story on how unmanned aerial vehicles are being used to deliver diagnostic tests or essential medicines, especially in areas with high traffic or difficult-to-travel terrain. Drones are not yet a turnkey solution, but their utility in traversing challenging environments is being recognized as a way to transport everything from COVID-19 tests to blood products.
Other COVID-19-related articles include one on a patient who experienced a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak following a COVID-19 nasal swab test. The non-COVID-19 articles include a deep dive into next-generation sequencing and a Lancet report on the state of global diagnostics.
Read on for our roundup of LabPulse's top 10 stories of 2021!
Diagnostics by drone? It may be closer than you think
Our top-read story reported on the global use of drones in delivering diagnostic tests and essential medicines in places where traditional transportation methods are not feasible, either due to the need for timeliness or lack of transportation infrastructure. Dr. Timothy Amukele, PhD, spoke on some of the use cases for drones at a session of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry's (AACC) September 2021 meeting in Atlanta.
- FDA issues alerts for Abbott Molecular COVID-19 testing kits
In what has become something of an ongoing theme when it comes to COVID-19 tests, in September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert about the potential for false-positive results with COVID-19 testing kits from Abbott Molecular.
- FDA warns labs that SARS-CoV-2 variant could cause false-negative test results
Third on the list -- and one of our first stories published in 2021 -- is an article about the FDA warning laboratories about the possibility of false-negative results on COVID-19 tests. In this case, the warning was regarding the coronavirus alpha variant.
- COVID-19 nasal swab causes leak in brain fluid
Clinicians reported treating a patient for a CSF leak after a COVID-19 nasal swab test. The patient's injury and recovery were reported in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery in September.
- Seegene launches automated PCR testing unit at AACC 2021
Seegene's automated real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test announcement was our fifth most-read story. The company launched the platform at AACC 2021.
- How AI for cervical cancer can help achieve healthcare equity
In one of our non-COVID-19 stories, Michael Quick, vice president of R&D/Innovation in the Diagnostic Solutions Division at Hologic, outlined how recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) medical products could help close gaps in women's healthcare equity and dismantle significant barriers that still need to be overcome.
- NGS is transforming diagnostics, but is it right for everyone?
Our seventh story is on the ins and outs of next-generation sequencing (NGS), including an interview with Dr. Christopher Corless, PhD, executive director of the Knight Diagnostic Laboratories at Oregon Health & Science University. The report touched on the economics of NGS platforms in the laboratory.
- Half of world lacks access to diagnostic testing
A commission formed by the Lancet journal found that nearly half (47%) of the world's population has little to no access to diagnostic testing, including the ability to do cultures to identify microorganisms. The commission's findings were published in the journal in October.
- Video from ASH 2021: COVID-19 pandemic takes center stage
With many speakers presenting virtually and several sessions on COVID-19's effects on hematology, it was clear that the pandemic remained at the forefront of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2021 meeting. This video shared some of the highlights from the conference.
- Could scientists have better communicated about COVID-19?
Our final story is an article on a wide-ranging talk given by Holden Thorp, PhD, editor in chief of the Science family of journals, at AACC 2021. Thorp's presentation, which covered everything from COVID-19 to scientists' role as communicators, was one of the livelier plenaries given at the meeting.