The recent COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed healthcare systems around the world. Many institutions don't have the capacity to tend to patients infected by the virus as well as those who suffer from chronic ailments that require ongoing care. As a result, many healthcare institutions have adopted telehealth, or telemedicine, tools. These tools enable doctors to provide virtual healthcare without requiring in-person patient consultations, unless absolutely necessary. As we are nearing the end of the first wave of coronavirus infections, it is now clear that we have to begin early conversations about the steps we need to take post pandemic that will help keep the numbers down and avoid the possibility of a second wave.
The coronavirus pandemic has compelled physicians to modify the way they provide healthcare to patients, particularly those who are chronically ill and must stay at home. Patients with chronic conditions typically require close monitoring by their care providers, requiring frequent clinic and lab visits for follow-ups and blood draws. These visits put them at a higher risk of contracting the virus and, perhaps, a more severe COVID-19 infection due to their existing health condition. This vulnerable patient population requires new approaches to care like telemedicine.
The scientific and medical communities continue investigating potential vaccines and therapies against SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness. Many believe that testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 raised antibodies is one of the best ways to gain an understanding of a possible full or partial immunity to the disease. Furthermore antibody testing will impart an understanding of which interventions will be most effective in preventing and treating these infections.
Topics: Viral Pathogens
In early 2020, communities around the globe saw our "normal" way of life disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. As the COVID-19 crisis escalated, public health experts advised social distancing, and governments limited group interactions through enforced stay at home orders to prevent cross-contamination.
A New Way of Life
The order of the day has become reducing the number of COVID-19 infections in every country on the planet. Public activities are still being discouraged worldwide in an effort to "level the curve," which would indicate that we are finally slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus that has caused the pandemic. We're not there yet. We need more help from the world of science, and scientific labs have a role to play in helping our communities. Labs can utilize remote blood collection for serology tests that detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and get us closer to developing effective vaccines and treatments.
At the beginning of April 2020, it was reported by Johns Hopkins University that the number of COVID-19 infections had surpassed the 1 million mark globally, and the number of cases was still rising. In the face of the devastating Coronavirus pandemic that is causing the COVID-19 infections, the race is on to find effective treatments as well as an effective vaccine.
Fear over the recent coronavirus outbreak continues to manifest in extreme ways. Retail stores have run out of hand sanitizers; the stock market has plunged, and healthcare institutions are overwhelmed.