Adaptive, diverse and de-centralized diagnostics are key to the future of outbreak response

BMC Biol. 2020 Oct 28;18(1):153. doi: 10.1186/s12915-020-00891-4.


The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has shaken our health care and economic systems, prompting re-evaluation of long-held views on how best to deliver care. This is especially the case for our global diagnostic strategy. While current laboratory-based centralized RT-qPCR will continue to serve as a gold standard diagnostic into the foreseeable future, the shortcomings of our dependence on this method have been laid bare. It is now clear that a robust diagnostics pandemic response strategy, like any disaster planning, must include adaptive, diverse and de-centralized solutions. Here we look at how the COVID-19 pandemic, and previous outbreaks, have set the stage for a new innovative phase in diagnostics and a re-thinking of pandemic preparedness.

Keywords: COVID-19; De-centralized diagnostics; Pandemic response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2