- According to estimates, at least 250 million people have been infected with COVID-19, and at least 5 million people have died due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As a result of these mistakes, the devastating impact of this disease on the health and economic well-being of the world may have been prevented.
- SARS, Ebola, Zika, and MERS are only a few examples of what has happened in the past. Containment of outbreaks necessitates the swift detection of new cases. Tests used in global health monitoring are the first line of defense against probable epidemics and can help public health professionals prevent or halt their spread. Even still, diagnostics that can identify illnesses with the potential to spread are needed. More than 60 percent of the WHO Blueprint pathogens are now undiagnosed.
- Poor and middle-income nations are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease misdiagnosis, putting new pandemic viruses at risk (LMICs). Low-income countries must have adequate funding for developing and distributing diagnostics as part of global health. Diagnostics may significantly impact the healthcare industry, even if they only account for a small percentage of total healthcare spending.
- We must learn from the mistakes of COVID-19 and not make the same mistakes again to prevent future disease outbreaks.
- Aside from the fact that effective diagnostics are essential even before an outbreak has occurred, their importance extends well beyond this. We’ve seen incredible progress in vaccine development thanks to COVID-19 in such a short time. This result would not have been achievable owing to diagnostic testing if vaccines were not assessed in clinical trials and real-world conditions. In certain countries, clinical trials have been discontinued in favor of relying only on immunizations to prevent the spread of disease. The error was all mine.
- All probable COVID-19 strains can’t be guaranteed to be vaccinated against. Affordable on-site testing, which is still commonly used in many countries due to widespread vaccine reluctance and anxiety, can help keep people safe at school, work, home, and even on airplanes. As a result of extensive testing, numerous nations have gone so far as to eradicate COVID-19 from their borders. In countries like Singapore and Australia, this embargo has lately been eased, but China has not and was able to stop the spread of Delta in 2013. The predicted spread of new disease strains, such as SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses, will require testing as a critical tool for a safe working environment.
- Future technological advancements will allow us to circumvent all of these testing problems. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the current gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis. Many testing facilities have backlogs, making it challenging to conduct such tests that use samples from the nose or throat. As a result, PCR testing is prohibitively costly. COVID-19 had already spread by the time these tests made clear they couldn’t halt it. Testing in the real world requires simple, fast, widely available, and affordable tests.
- Fast antigen testing for COVID lateral flow test was ready for use within eight months of the first pandemic. A whole new world record was set here. As a workaround, nations with low and medium incomes (LMICs) are turning to swabs from the nose or throat to identify a protein specific to coronaviruses. While not as accurate as PCR testing, they help prevent pandemics and detect ill people with high viral loads. Although these tests were widely employed in high-income countries, some governments kept the findings secret because of their nationalistic objectives. Such practices increase pandemics in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), where diagnostic capacity is already limited.
- For this to be achieved, everyone must have equitable access to reliable testing processes. The use of ACT Accelerator was one of the most efficient methods of combating the outbreak. COVID- Governments, scientists, industries, philanthropy, and international health organizations collaborated to create 19 diagnostic and treatment options. Although they had expected more robust funding for testing, significant successes like halving the cost of rapid antigen tests, independently evaluating the performance of commercially available tests, and training more than 42,000 healthcare workers to administer tests in over 200 countries have been achieved. Funding for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that lack basic diagnostic capabilities and life-saving medicines was announced in November by the ACT collaboration.
- As a global society, it has proven challenging to benefit from COVID-19 diagnosis fully. The outbreak may have lasted longer because of the politicization of testing and the overreliance on immunizations. Although illnesses do not follow national borders, wealthier nations have been stockpiling tests and diagnostic capabilities that have contributed to high sickness rates in LMICs, even though diseases do not follow national borders. As if that wasn’t bad enough, sickness has no regard for borders. We still have gaps in testing that COVID-19 has addressed, but its insights can be utilized to limit disease outbreaks and save more deaths.