Proposal for a national diagnostics action plan for the United States

Health Policy Open. 2023 Jun 24:5:100099. doi: 10.1016/j.hpopen.2023.100099. eCollection 2023 Dec 15.


Providing a definitive diagnostic test in a disease emergency is critical to limit pathogen spread, develop and deploy medical countermeasures, and mitigate the social and economic harms of a serious epidemic. While major accomplishments have accelerated test development, expanded laboratory testing capacity, and established widespread point-of-care testing, the United States does not have a plan to rapidly respond, to develop, manufacture, deploy, and sustain diagnostic testing at a national scale. To address this gap, we are proposing a National Diagnostics Action Plan that describes the steps that are urgently needed to prepare for future infectious disease emergencies, as well as the actions we must take at the first signs of such' events. These recommendations require substantial collaboration between the US government (USG) and the private sector to solve a series of challenges now, as well as to prepare for the massive and rapid scale-up of laboratory and point-of-care test development and testing capacity in future emergencies. The recommendations include establishing pre-event contracts; ensuring rapid access to clinical samples; creating a permanent public-private testing coordinating body to allow for rapid information sharing and improved cooperation among the USG, test developers, and clinical laboratories; and accelerating testing rollout at the beginning of an event-and thus, the effective public health management of a disease crisis.

Keywords: COVID-19 response; Diagnostic testing; Laboratory testing; Mpox; Pandemic preparedness.