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Supporting microbiology labs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Clinical laboratories around the world are coming under increasing pressure to respond to COVID-19 testing, as well as the accompanying increased risk of secondary infections. With demand at an unprecedented high, microbiology laboratories are having to support handling new tests from a range of different sources as well as continue to meet demand for their ongoing, regular workload.

According to EU recommendations, laboratory testing is essential to managing COVID-19, to help slow down the pandemic, support decisions on infection control and patient management, and detect asymptomatic cases that could spread the virus further if not isolated.i COVID-19 is often accompanied by a secondary bacterial or viral infection in the immunocompromised individual, which must also be diagnosed and managed.

Bruker's MALDI Biotyper® is already in place at the labs which have served and will continue to support increased demand. These systems can manage high volumes of testing for any secondary bacterial infection. The internationally renowned St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London has also invested in the MALDI Biotyper® ‘sirius’ system for resistance detection applications.

Because the instruments are already up and running, no additional operator training or workflows are needed to offer the rapid responses required by frontline staff. No work was needed by the lab during the initial crisis mode to run instrument trials, validation or set up new workflows. This supported labs to extend testing for microorganism identification without scale up or start up issues.

Identifying microorganisms rapidly and reliably is vital. An accurate diagnosis establishes the correct course of action straightaway. Traditional techniques can typically take hours or even days to deliver a result, which may then lack specificity. The MALDI Biotyper® delivers results with confidence and within minutes.

REFERENCES

i European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 1 April 2020. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Overview-rapid-test-situation-for-COVID-19-diagnosis-EU-EEA.pdf.

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