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Life during COVID-19 pandemic as a Medical Microbiologist

MHD_Navin-Kumar

The Medical Microbiologist play a significant role in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infection in routine clinical practice, informs Dr Navin Kumar, Laboratory Head and Consultant, Clinical Microbiology & Infection Prevention, HCMCT Manipal Hospital.

Microbiologist are playing a crucial role as a frontline worker along with other essential professionals during the current COVID-19 outbreak. Working tirelessly to provide reliable and timely diagnosis of SARS CoV2 infection.

Now the world is in the middle of a pandemic and responsibility of microbiologists becomes even more important. They play an instrumental role in setting up validated test systems and developing whole new testing algorithms for COVID -19 in their respective laboratories. This is not an easy task as it needs to be done quickly at the sametime in an efficient manner.

Managing the supply chain of kits, reagents and consumable is also an uphill daily battle as there is increased demand all across the country. Many of them are facing supply shortages. The capacity building with limited resources has been a big challenge for most of them.

In the pandemic time, their routine work starts with collection and careful handling of samples with suspected SARS COV2 infection, processing of these samples with adequate quality control and delivering accurate and timely test results. The positive results are communicated to the clinical team as soon as possible. This is quite helpful in designing the best treatment plan for admitted patients.

Also read: ‘More than 1.5 crore Covid-19 samples tested so far’

Prioritizing of samples and surge planning has become an important daily exercise to maintain turnaround time of the test results. At the end of day, all positive and negative results of their laboratories have to be entered electronically in the government portal. These provide information about trends of infection everyday and help government agencies in planning various containment and control measures.

The infection prevention in hospital and community is another important area where microbiologists are providing crucial support. These include designing standard operating procedures and guidelines for different clinical areas and communities. They are also contributing in regular training of medical, paramedical and nursing staff about appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), environmental disinfection and management of bio medical waste.

Microbiologists are also doing pandemic related educational webinars for healthcare staff and community. This is to increase awareness about facts related to SARS CoV2 infection and various infection prevention measures. There is huge responsibility lies on medical mMicrobiologists and improved sense of teamwork inside their laboratories and outside with other clinical team continues to drive their spirited response to the crisis

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