Statement attributable to:
Carmen L. Wiley, PhD
President, American Association for Clinical Chemistry
“The federal guidelines for the reopening of the United States released yesterday by the Trump Administration are heavily reliant on additional testing for COVID-19. Although many of the original barriers to testing for this disease have been overcome, AACC’s members—the laboratory experts on the frontlines—are still facing significant obstacles to performing these tests. There is a shortage of necessary supplies, including sample collection and test components. We also need appropriate nasal swabs to collect the specimens intended for the molecular tests. Unless and until these supply chain issues are resolved, the nation’s laboratories will remain stymied in their attempts to maximize their testing capacity. At this point, the biggest barrier to testing is not capacity, but access to vital supplies.
“Another critical issue facing the laboratory community, as well as other healthcare professionals, is the shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE. Laboratory professionals are collecting and processing the specimens needed to determine whether a person is infected by the virus. As frontline workers, they continue to need PPE, including gowns, masks, gloves, and face shields so that they can safely do their jobs. Increased production and disbursement of these items to the entire healthcare enterprise is vital to ensuring the safety of those individuals charged with clinical testing.
“The only entity in this crisis with the power to source the necessary supplies on a large scale and route them to those areas they are most needed—whether an N95 mask, testing reagents, or a testing swab—is the federal government. Laboratories and diagnostics manufacturers are rapidly scaling up testing even in the face of these dire problems with the supply chain. Meanwhile, the White House must continue to do the work only they can do: Find and coordinate resources so that physicians, nurses, laboratory professionals, and others can do their jobs.”
To speak to Dr. Wiley about this issue, please contact Molly Polen, AACC Senior Director of Communications & PR, at [email protected] or 202-420-7612.
Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of progressing laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.