Royal College of Pathologists COVID-19 testing: a national strategy
As the UK moves forwards from the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, the approach to SARS-CoV-2 testing is also moving rapidly, both for viral detection and for testing the immune and protective immune responses to it. The initial wave has impacted, but further cases are likely unless and until an effective vaccine with long-term protective efficacy becomes available and widely used.
Testing is not something that is just done and counted. It is a process with clinical purposes for individual patients, for those who care for them and for the population at large. It is a conscious and targeted use of valuable materials and skilled professionals within the context of a pathway and purpose.
This document sets out a vision for a future strategy with which clinical, scientific and policy stakeholders, including patient advocacy groups, can align. It forms the basis for a roadmap to delivery. It applies equally to all settings in which care is delivered, across all the population and all age groups.
Due to the emerging situation, the strategy for testing will be iterative. There is a lack of data and questions remain about the virus and our immune response to it. This strategy will therefore evolve as evidence emerges.
This strategy is based on a set of seven principles, which underpin four key workstreams:
- testing matched to purpose and pathways
- innovation to adoption at pace
- infrastructure and workforce for a stable future
- SARS-CoV-2 is not the only virus.