Safe Biochemical Testing of COVID-19 Samples: A Clinical Lab Perspective
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Diamond Jubliee Block,
Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has not only greatly burdened healthcare system globally but also exposed the medical and paramedical staff to risk of infection. Although the major mode of transmission of this highly infectious disease is via close contact with an infected person i.e., droplet infection due to coughing/sneezing and aerosol generation, few research articles have shown presence of SARS-CoV-2 in blood and serum. This poses a potential risk to health care professionals who are handling these samples. Once the suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 is admitted in the hospital setting, it requires a battery of clinical chemistry investigations. Laboratory has a vital and indispensable role to play in the management of COVID-19 patients as several biochemical markers are used for prognostication as well as monitoring and guiding treatment in the critical patients. Hence, this evaluation was undertaken to have protocols based on robust recommendations and guidelines to be followed while handling the potentially infective samples in the clinical laboratories in order to ensure safety of the staff. However, these recommendations are based on the limited and rapidly evolving knowledge available at the moment and hence need to be reviewed periodically.