First Steps by Administration Key to Getting Pandemic Under Control
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) enthusiastically supports the Biden Administration’s first steps in getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control. ASM has tapped into its extensive network of clinical microbiologists, to create the Clinical Microbiology Supply Shortage Collection (CMSSC) tool, which has provided valuable data about supply challenges facing labs across the country throughout the COVID-19 response. ASM is encouraged to see the Biden Administration taking this seriously with an Executive Order aimed at accelerating manufacturing of essential lab supplies including collection kits, reagents, pipette tips and other key testing supplies. This requires a “whole of government” approach. We can no longer afford to pit state against state and lab against lab in the obtaining this critical equipment.
Opening schools and businesses can only happen when we have a comprehensive testing strategy in place, with all the tools necessary to get these much-needed tests deployed and the results completed and reported as quickly as possible. The action today by the Administration is a promising first step to making that happen.
Fully a year in the pandemic, we also know that the situation will continue to evolve and encourage the new Administration to take into account all that we have learned over this time. Other priorities that will need to be address in short order include:
- Increasing the focus on genetic sequencing to identify and track new virus strains.
- Ensuring that labs have the supplies not only for COVID-19 testing but other critical tests as well. The COVID-19 crisis has made it challenging for labs to keep reasonable stock of lab supplies and has even threatened access to testing for other routine tests as the supplies are in shortage across the testing spectrum.
- Working with regulatory agencies on a consistent and streamlined approach to diagnostics that reinforces public confidence in the process while allowing for rapid deployment of new diagnostics.
ASM looks forward to working with the Biden Administration and the COVID-19 task force to ensure that clinical microbiology laboratories are able to continue their day-to-day operations without further disruptions from supply shortages.