05/12/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/12/2021 05:06
Because hospitals and healthcare facilities continue to see patients for regular treatments, procedures, and surgeries, patient care has evolved to accommodate new standards and safety procedures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect both patients and healthcare workers.
One of these safety measures includes pre-operative COVID-19 screening before surgery-a guideline issued by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) early on in the pandemic. According to the IDSA, testing should be performed within 48-72 hours of the procedure, or as close to day-of as possible.
Also included in their COVID-19 testing guidelines, the IDSA recommends SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing even for asymptomatic individuals who are undergoing major or time-sensitive surgeries, since healthcare providers could use this information to guide PPE requirements. Even in elective surgeries, screening for COVID-19 is still recommended.
Many leading hospitals in the US have already adopted PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 testing prior to surgery whenever possible. In a publication from last year in NEJM Catalyst, physicians at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Washington state reported that implementing universal patient screening before all medical procedures not only led to a safer environment for their staff, but also supported the conservation of N95 masks.
'As elective procedural care [resumes], screening for COVID-19 infection prior to all surgical and procedural care seems to be a viable model to provide care in a manner that is safe for both patients and staff,' the authors noted.
Standalone SARS-CoV-2 testing will continue to be crucial moving forward, even after vaccination rates start reducing infections in significant numbers. Because daily case numbers are still very high in many parts of the world, pre-operative COVID-19 screening can continue to help keep healthcare workers safe and can conserve resources.
For patients with fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms, diagnostic panels that include the SARS-CoV-2 target in addition to other respiratory pathogens remain important for correctly identifying the causative agent of a patient's illness-especially since the symptoms of COVID-19 overlap with many of the symptoms of other respiratory illnesses, including influenza. Importantly, patient outcomes can depend on appropriate treatment strategies and in light of possible comorbidities, a definitive diagnosis is all the more important.
Since it appears that we may be dealing with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, diagnostic tools will also need to evolve to meet the changing needs of the healthcare community and society at large. To support this need, we continue to advance the science behind our COVID-19 assays, providing targeted, paneled, and serology tests for a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 testing and research needs.
For more information about our SARS-CoV-2 offerings, or to learn more about how our COVID-19 solutions can support your lab, please visit our website.