In response to the announcement from NHS England regarding the ramping up of coronavirus testing in laboratories, Professor Jo Martin, President of The Royal College of Pathologists said:
‘Scaling up pathology testing five-fold for COVID-19 is a considerable ask of our virology and infection experts, but they are already rising to these challenges. They have been working non-stop to support patients and the public in this. They have been flexible and applying their considerable skills in this vital area, and we will do what we can to help them with further support as the situation develops.’
Lab testing is vitally important for the diagnosis and control of COVID-19. The clinical features of COVID-19 infection are not distinctive. Only lab testing can distinguish between COVID-19 and other causes of acute respiratory infection. Consequently, hospital infection prevention and community public health measures rely heavily on the ability of laboratories to provide rapid and reliable results. This attention to quality underpins all pathology tests in the NHS every day.