ROCKVILLE, Md. – February 23, 2021 – The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), a leading global, molecular diagnostic professional society, announced today the preliminary results of its “Molecular Testing for Cancer during the COVID-19 Research” in clinical laboratories. AMP’s continuous series of COVID-19 surveys is conducted to monitor, understand, and collect real-time data on laboratory efforts and experiences during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent anonymous study estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic was affected by an important component of molecular diagnostic testing for cancer, including test volume, laboratory surgery, clinical trial trials, patient samples, and recovery time. Preliminary results included feedback from 163 representatives from academic medical centers, commercial reference laboratories, and community hospitals in the United States and around the world.
Throughout the pandemic, while resources were allocated to the SARS-CoV-2 trial, clinical laboratories conducting molecular diagnostic testing for cancer faced a number of challenges with the necessary supplies and equipment, as well as difficulties in recruiting and retaining appropriately trained laboratory professionals. Overall, 85% of respondents reported that molecular cancer testing decreased during April-June 2020. In addition, more than half of respondents said that oncology testing for clinical trials decreased due to fewer students enrolled in school, reluctance to travel, or ability to conduct testing. . The results of the study show that the pandemic will continue to have long-term effects on molecular diagnostic testing of cancer, as laboratories reported that stopping COVID-19 reduced or halted their development or validation of new tests, increased test development time and stopped or canceled orders for new equipment. .
“Despite a widespread supply chain and a shortage of staff, clinical laboratories around the world continue to work diligently to provide molecular research to cancer patients during this public health crisis,” said Dr. Antonia R. Sepulveda, Ph.D. AMP, AMP President and Professor and Chair George Washington, School of Medicine, Department of Pathology. “The results of this survey reveal a greater impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients’ access to high-quality and appropriate testing. Addressing the shortcomings identified in this study will help ensure that all clinical laboratory tests, including molecular diagnostic tests for cancer, can be performed in a timely manner.”
The results of this study underscore the significant supply chain and staff shortages reported in AMP’s SARS-CoV-2 molecular studies in April and August and show that they are reflected in molecular diagnostic testing of cancer. Addressing these issues during this pandemic and all future pandemics is necessary to ensure that laboratories continue to operate at full capacity and ensure that patients can continue to receive timely tests. The AMP continues to emphasize two previous recommendations:
- 1. Prioritize the allocation of stocks based on the needs of the clinical trial, which could change over time.
2. Support the workforce of the clinical laboratory that is key to providing an effective response to medical and public health pandemics.
AMP will continue to review and analyze survey results as part of its ongoing commitment to sharing expertise, assessing laboratory needs, engaging key stakeholders, and making recommendations to improve future pandemic responses and ensure more patients have access to high-quality testing procedures.
To read AMP’s full October 2020 molecular cancer testing report during the COVID-19 survey, visit: https: /
The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) was founded in 1995 to provide structure and guidance to a new field of molecular diagnostics. 2500 and more members of AMP are engaged in various disciplines of molecular diagnostics, including bioinformatics, infectious diseases, hereditary diseases and oncology. Our members are pathologists, directors of clinical laboratories, basic and translational scientists, technologists, and trainees working in a variety of settings, including community academic and medical centers, government, and industry. Through the efforts of boards of directors, boards, working groups and members, AMP is the primary resource for expertise, education and collaboration in one of the fastest growing areas in healthcare. AMP members influence policy and regulations nationally and internationally, ultimately serving to advance innovation in the field and protect patient access to high-quality and appropriate testing. For more information, visit http: // www.
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