By every measure, the clinical laboratory community has passed this test. U.S. laboratories are on track to soon pass the 500 million mark for number of SARS-CoV-2 tests performed. This number itself is impressive. Even more remarkable is the fact that laboratories and their partners in the in vitro diagnostics industry stood up this testing from scratch and in the face of heretofore unimaginable barriers: congested supply chains, regulatory reversals and ambiguities, a decentralized healthcare system, and shortages of everything from swabs, tubes, and reagents to personnel.
As the U.S. and some other countries reopen their economies on the strength of highly effective vaccines, those fortunate enough to live in these parts of the world have begun to look toward a post-pandemic world.
This might be the next big test of clinical laboratory professionals: How will you continue to lead and shape this new healthcare landscape—or will that be left to others? Even though the pandemic, and the changes it’s wrought, are far from over, the opportunity to carry the mantle of leadership in our institutions and professions could close sooner than we think.
Since unleashing the technology, know-how, and professional grit to meet the testing needs during the pandemic, the broad field of diagnostics has found itself in the spotlight. Now is the time to look deeply at the potential for this new visibility—and its attendant collaborations, relationships, and credibility—to forge a widening circle of impact. Within and without the profession, people are ready for less transactional and more creative connections that will make a difference in global health.
This September in Atlanta, come to the meeting ready to share your own story of innovation and resilience, to hear those of others, and to find a fresh vision for the field of laboratory medicine. Your colleagues—whether they identify as academics, clinical laboratory scientists, researchers, or business professionals—are ready too.
PARTICIPATE IN BREAKTHROUGH SCIENCE
AACC is offering a unique opportunity for attendees to participate personally in important SARS-CoV-2 research.
While the scientific community continues to devote great efforts to understanding all aspects of SARS-CoV-2, a key question that has not yet been answered is how long the currently available vaccines will protect against the virus.
By collecting blood sample donations right inside the AACC Clinical Lab Expo, the AACC COVID-19 Immunity Study plans to provide valuable insight into this issue. The study aims to examine immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination or prior infection in a large cohort of volunteers, diverse in areas such as age, sex, race, ethnicity, vaccine regimens, and geography.
As an additional personal benefit, study participants will receive data about their individual antibody profiles and vaccine effectiveness after the study results have been tabulated.