CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGIST ROLE IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Since the appearance of the SARS-CoV2 virus, and of the disease it causes, COVID-19, we have witnessed an emerging virus turning into a pandemic. There are lessons to be learned from this situation, which will hopefully be useful to avoid or contain a future emerging pathogen.

Nonetheless, there are some pieces of good news. The first of which is how fast epidemiologists, public health experts, health workers, industry, and research scientists have worked together to do their part to quash the pandemic as soon as humanly possible. The moment is thus dire for microbiologists who have played a key role in the diagnosis and with the present scenario India definitely is an important place to study microbiology due to the presence of the pandemic and infectious diseases found in third world countries along with infections that exist in technologically developed countries. 

Some of the ways in which Microbiologists are stepping up to play a crucial role by conducting tests and confirming new cases can be placed in various roles

Role:- Torchbearer Microbiologist as a COVID WARRIOR

  • Specimen collection and transportation. 
  • Establishment of Virology Laboratory.
  • Laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 by performing:
  • tests
  • tests (PCR based)
  • Development and production of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Mass and field screening of COVID-19 suspected population by rapid tests.
  • Development and production of new tests (Rapid & Confirmatory) with high sensitivity and specificity regarding COVID-19 disease.
  • Infection Control in Hospital- Hand hygiene and other infection control practices
  • Biomedical Waste Management
  • Teaching and training of supporting medical staff about the COVID-19 disease.
  • Research perspectives regarding diagnosis, prevention, and vaccination.
  • To develop effective antiviral therapy to COVID-19 disease. 
  • Educating regarding the role of antiseptics and disinfectants in the prevention of COVID-19 disease.  

Path Forward

The COVID-19 outbreak has once again highlighted the need to create a robust and sustainable system allowing for rapid development, dissemination, and implementation of diagnostic tests targeted against infectious diseases of global health concern. To provide healthcare providers with the answers they need to make critical patient-management decisions, rapid testing for the outbreak-associated pathogen is needed. This will require us to think creatively so that testing for novel and emerging pathogens can be implemented in both public health laboratories and clinical laboratories in a timely fashion. To accomplish this goal, there will be substantial logistical challenges and resource limitations to overcome. However, this is certainly a challenge that is worth taking on, and one in which we all can be successful by working in it together. Thus, this has led to the role of Microbiology suddenly being thrust into the spotlight. Also, fielding questions from many different departments and institutions. Before the microbiologists can solve the problems that are caused by microbes, or can exploit their abilities, they have to find out how do microbes work. They can then use this knowledge for preventing or treating diseases, developing new technologies, and improving our lives in general. Hence all around the world, there is a need for microbiologists who can make a big difference in saving lives.