As the pandemic recedes into endemics, epidemiologists expect COVID-19 and its variants to remain with us indefinitely. COVID-19 now joins the list of respiratory pathogens that pathologists will see in the lab and clinicians will routinely see in patients at the point of care, making differential diagnosis even more challenging.
During a recent virtual roundtable discussion, five panelists who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response around the world shared their insights on the future of syndromic, or multiplex, testing. All agree that multiplex testing is the future and will play a vital role in improving care quality and efficiency.
The panelists were unanimous in their support for wider use of multiplex panels. In fact, two called the technology “a real game-changer.” All expect test panels to include more pathogens in the future.
The panelists also agree that enough evidence exists of the clinical utility of multiplex testing to justify broader use. Beyond the obvious examples of accelerating differential diagnosis and treatment, panelists acknowledged the vital role multiplex testing has played in treating immunocompromised patients, isolating at-risk patients during surges, and clearing overtaxed emergency rooms.
While forecasting significant growth in the use of multiplex testing – and providing examples of how tests were and are being used in multiple care settings – panelists also discussed the hurdles that must still be overcome. Among the largest of these hurdles is reimbursement and the need to collect and analyze more data that definitively show clinical utility across multiple healthcare settings.
While multiplex panels comprising COVID-19, Influenza A, Influenza B, and RSV are most common, the panelist all expect and advocate for the addition of assays for broader indications. In the future this could include drug resistance markers as well.
To learn more about how far we’ve come with syndromic or multiplex testing, the remaining challenges and other insights from those on the front lines of healthcare, watch the free webinar on-demand.
To learn more about Thermo Fisher Scientific’s multiplex testing solutions, please visit https://www.thermofisher.com/pathogendetection.