As we reflect on 2021, the ApolloLIMS team has noticed some interesting developments in the diagnostics space. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic along with some other general developments within the biotech sector overall have combined to impact the diagnostic space for the better. The last year has been an exciting time to partner with diagnostic laboratories as their businesses, and the industry overall, has gone through significant change. Here are three developments that will impact diagnostic laboratories as we move into 2022.
COVID-19 Testing Goes Mobile
As the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, COVID-19 testing has moved to the point-of-need. Diagnostic laboratories have responded by loading up testing supplies, test kits, and instrumentation into mobile units to perform testing at sporting event, schools, conferences, and other large-scale gatherings. This approach facilitates rapid COVID-19 testing just prior to entrance to a facility or event and is an interesting way to narrow the window between a test result and event attendance.
The Rise of Biorepositories in Diagnostics
The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process emphasized the value of remnant specimens for test validation and test development activities. As diagnostic companies scrambled to obtain 30 SARS-CoV-2 positive and 30 SARS-CoV-2 negative specimens for their validations, diagnostic laboratories recognized the revenue opportunity for resulted, bio-banked remnant specimens that are de-identified. Instead of purchasing these specimens from commercial biorepositories for $300-$1000 per aliquot, more and more diagnostic laboratories are beginning to establish biorepositories for their own use and for sale to other companies.
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS): Transforming Microbiology Diagnostics
The time has come for next generation sequencing to impact diagnostic testing in infectious disease and general microbiology. The costs associated with NGS is beginning to reach the level where this technology can be applied to certain diagnostic scenarios in infectious disease and microbiology more broadly. The impact of NGS on our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 mutations during the COVID-19 pandemic is powerful and demonstrates the importance of this type of testing in specific infectious disease use cases. Further, we are seeing NGS being used for surveillance testing of congregate populations to identify important pathogens before they have the opportunity to spread. Some diagnostic laboratories are using NGS to provide patients general information about their health status in the form of characterizing aspects of the person’s microbiome.
These new developments underscore exciting opportunities within the diagnostic industry. If your laboratory is interested in learning more about these new developments or are planning to take on new areas of testing in the coming year, reach out to ApolloLIMS. Our team can help you build your laboratory for the future and streamline your laboratory workflows. Contact our team to learn more about the Apollo Alliance.