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Testing, sterilising and collaborating seen as effective ways of containing COVID-19

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Rapid effective testing, sterilisation and collaboration between groups are key to containing coronavirus, say speakers at Medlab Asia & Asia Health.

Continuous testing, sterlisation and collaboration, along with other factors, can help the health system to contain the COVID-19 virus, said different speakers during the first day of Medlab Asia & Asia Health - The Virtual Edition.

“Testing has evolved because of differences in the phases, the types of tests we have, types of therapies and differences in geo-regional approaches and strategies,” said Dr Aaron Han, Consultant pathologist, King’s London Hospital Dubai during his session, Quality Guide on Laboratory TestIng of COVID-19.

In his session, Dr Han explained that quality and timeliness of results has been critical to know the questions that need to be addressed, whilst knowing the limitations of the tests and knowing how to communicate the health strategy with the public. 

“It's important in all phases of COVID-19 to understand the testing issues and be able to frame them with a multipronged approach,” he added. Dr Han explained that there are two ways to look at tests, through the variability in ways to test and measure such as the different methods and instruments, different modalities based on the presence of the virus, and the antibodies or antigen. The other way is through the approved options and availability of reagents that is selection of testing platforms often based on availability.

Prof Le Thi Anh Thu, President, Ho Chi Minh City Infection Control Society said, during her presentation in the panel discussion under the title of What are the perceived future requirements to prevent COVID-19, that in Vietnam they have built a smart testing framework that ensured timely test results are available to guide the actions in order to minimise morbidity, mortality and eventually the disease. Nonetheless, she explained that promoting vaccination is one of the most preventive measures.

“We need to change the treatment based on the situation, so try to find effective ways to minimise the impact on daily medical operations and find innovations in medical services,” she added. 

But testing is only one part of the process. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the health sector worldwide has been collaborating not only on the science front but also the operations and logistics such as when there was a shortage in the PPE - which has been a challenge that led health care sectors in some countries to sterlise their one time use equipment and reuse it.

“We suspended some of the laws and reached out to the manufacturers.We studied whether UV light or dry heat sterlisation can sterilise the usage while killing the virus. That was a new situation that we had to adapt to,” explained Damien Berg, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM) in Colorado, during his presentation under the title of Hospital facility management and safety: The new normal.

“The new normal is to bring people together, don’t think you are by yourself,” he added, explaining further that he reached out to other resources to be able to find ways to ensure the safety of the healthcare staff.

“There is a difference between validation and verification. Validation is to validate the process that it goes through, the process is reputable, the process is safe, the process is reliable. Verification is to verify that your equipment, your staff and your people can do that repeatedly,” he explained on how they managed the challenge of shortage of the PPE. 

In certain countries like in the Philippines, that remain under lockdown, the medical staff face other challenges such as helping people cope and understand. 

Arlene Tamayo, the President of the Philippines Association of Central Services and Sterlisation Management (PACSSM) said, during her presentation in the panel session on What are the perceived future requirements to prevent COVID-19, that it is vital to educate the health care workers on their first day. She explained that the behaviour in following the protocols remains at stake. 

Nonetheless to include ventilation and ensure it is within the budget. “The possibility of a good ventilation must be on the budget for the next coming years or the next coming months, our houses, our schools,” she explained.

“Disinfection and sterlisation doesn't need to have to be special in times of pandemic, we need to follow the classification and by then we will still have the same disinfectant,” she added during her panel discussion.

Register as an attendee for Medlab Asia & Asia Health, ASEAN's leading healthcare and laboratory event taking place online on 20-22 October 2021.

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