As the UK moves forwards from the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Royal College of Pathologists has published COVID-19 testing: a national strategy. The strategy looks past the peak of the epidemic for both viral and antibody testing and has been developed to help build robust process and structures that will work for the future.
'This document sets out a vision for a future strategy with which clinical, scientific and policy stakeholders, including patient advocacy groups, can align. It forms the basis for a roadmap to delivery. It applies equally to all settings in which care is delivered, across all our population, and all age groups.
Testing is not something that is just done and counted. It is a process with clinical purposes for individual patients, for those who care for them and for the population at large. It is a conscious and targeted use of valuable materials and highly skilled professionals within the context of a pathway and purpose.'
The initial wave of COVID-19 has impacted, but further cases are likely unless and until, an effective vaccine with long-term protective efficacy becomes available and widely used.
The approach to SARS-CoV-2 testing is moving rapidly, both for viral detection and for testing the immune and protective immune responses to it.
Due to the emerging situation, the strategy will be iterative and will evolve as evidence emerges. There is a lack of data and questions remain about the virus and our immune response to it.
COVID-19 testing: a national strategy, is based on a set of seven principles, which underpin four key workstreams:
- testing matched to purpose and pathways
- innovation to adoption
- Infrastructure and workforce for a stable future
- SARS-CoV-2 is not the only virus.