COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to clinical laboratories. While U.S. labs continue to strive to provide quality and accurate test results in the face of adversity, the uncertainty and lack of supplies remains a significant hurdle, hindering day-to-day laboratory operations and the ability to increase testing capacity.
ASM has partnered with the Association of Supply Chain Management to collect testing supply status for both COVID-19 tests as well as other microbiological tests to highlight, and ultimately alleviate, these debilitating supply chain issues. Starting Sept. 11, ASM began independently collecting shortage data directly from clinical labs, which allows us to draw attention to the data provided by laboratory directors and practicing clinical microbiologists without external influence. We will collect this data for the foreseeable future and share our findings each week on the most recent shortages of medium, reagents, collection devices and consumables that are significantly impacting day-to-day testing for both COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, along with week-over-week longitudinal changes.
134 CLIA-certified labs have responded to the survey during this time and report running at an average of 50.8% testing capacity for COVID-19. As a subset of clinical microbiology labs in the U.S., this data highlights that supply shortage is still an ongoing concern. If you are a member of a clinical microbiology lab and would like to get involved in our data collection efforts, please email us for details. All information provided will be confidential for one year.
The results also show the following non-COVID-19 shortages for the week of Nov. 10-17, 2020:
74.4% of labs have a shortage of commercial testing kits for SARS-CoV-2.
56.4% of labs have a shortage of non-COVID-19 testing supplies for detection of routine bacteria (including the bacteria causing strep throat, pneumonia, bronchitis and urinary tract infections).
65.8% of labs have a shortage of supplies for the molecular detection of sexually transmitted infections.
27.3% have a shortage of supplies for mycobacteria testing (including supplies for tuberculosis (TB), Buruli ulcer and pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial disease testing).
12.1% of labs have a shortage of supplies for routine fungal testing (ranging from superficial, localized skin conditions to deeper tissue infections to serious lung, blood (septicemia) or systemic diseases).