Point-of-care molecular diagnostics arose during the COVID-19 pandemic to fulfill a specific niche in testing menus.
These point-of-care tests further expanded to include respiratory panel testing focusing on 4-plex design including COVID-19, influenza A, influenza B, and RSV as the major actionable pathogens. With the triple-demic of the winter of 2022, each of these viruses spiked at levels much higher than during the pandemic. Thus, panel testing became important to test for each virus at the same time, given the similar respiratory symptoms. Point-of-care testing fills in gaps in settings like doctor's offices, urgent care clinics, and emergency departments where patients cannot wait for multiple hours for a result. When deciding whether to implement POC testing, laboratory directors must consider limitations and required protocols for their use.
In this on-demand GenomeWebinar webinar sponsored by LGC Clinical Diagnostics, Jeff SoRelle, assistant professor of pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center discusses the challenges of implementing point-of-care molecular tests, including how he and colleagues have found that alternative sample types such as saliva, nasal swabs, or viral transport media can be used, but point-of-care devices typically don't have the same level of sensitivity as traditional PCR instruments. The proper operation also requires daily QC practices to be adhered to in order to produce optimal results in compliance with CLIA lab standards.
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