Research Topic

Impact of COVID-19 on the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory: Preparing for the Next Pandemic

About this Research Topic

In December 2019, the first cases of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus were reported in the Wuhan province of China and, within a matter of weeks, evolved into the global pandemic known as Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Early, accurate, and rapid diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the ability to differentiate it from other pathogens causing similar symptoms remains essential for prompt clinical intervention and pandemic control. Laboratory personnel are key to the efforts to halt the virus’s spread and treat patients. The approach to laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 has also out of necessity evolved throughout the course of this pandemic and the clinical microbiology laboratory has been required to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of tests and test demand.  

In this Research Topic, contributors from diagnostic laboratories from around the world share their experiences in dealing with the demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing together perspectives from public health, reference, academic, and community laboratories, this issue describes the specific challenges laboratories faced (and are still facing), in the aftermath of the pandemic, and the mitigation strategies that were implemented to overcome these challenges and ensure success. Reflecting on these experiences and the valuable lessons learned will help laboratories prepare for similar challenges in the future. It will always be a matter of time before a new pandemic will occur and efforts to improve laboratory preparedness post-COVID-19 is an important proactive step in planning for the future in the clinical microbiology laboratory. 

Articles will address the following topics integral to laboratory testing, highlighting; 1) the problems encountered in various laboratory settings during the pandemic, 2) how these problems were alleviated or solved, and 3) recommendations for the future.

Sub-themes may include but are not limited to:
• Specimen collection and transport
• Specimen preparation
• Test selection and test availability
• Biosafety considerations • Staffing challenges
• Evolution of testing during and after the pandemic


Sherry Dunbar is an employee and stock shareholder of Luminex Corporation. Luminex is publicly traded company (NASDAQ: LMNX) that manufactures instruments and assays used in research and clinical diagnostics. No other competing interests for any of the Guest Editors.


Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, clinical laboratory, clinical diagnostics, microbiology molecular biology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In December 2019, the first cases of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus were reported in the Wuhan province of China and, within a matter of weeks, evolved into the global pandemic known as Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Early, accurate, and rapid diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the ability to differentiate it from other pathogens causing similar symptoms remains essential for prompt clinical intervention and pandemic control. Laboratory personnel are key to the efforts to halt the virus’s spread and treat patients. The approach to laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 has also out of necessity evolved throughout the course of this pandemic and the clinical microbiology laboratory has been required to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of tests and test demand.  

In this Research Topic, contributors from diagnostic laboratories from around the world share their experiences in dealing with the demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing together perspectives from public health, reference, academic, and community laboratories, this issue describes the specific challenges laboratories faced (and are still facing), in the aftermath of the pandemic, and the mitigation strategies that were implemented to overcome these challenges and ensure success. Reflecting on these experiences and the valuable lessons learned will help laboratories prepare for similar challenges in the future. It will always be a matter of time before a new pandemic will occur and efforts to improve laboratory preparedness post-COVID-19 is an important proactive step in planning for the future in the clinical microbiology laboratory. 

Articles will address the following topics integral to laboratory testing, highlighting; 1) the problems encountered in various laboratory settings during the pandemic, 2) how these problems were alleviated or solved, and 3) recommendations for the future.

Sub-themes may include but are not limited to:
• Specimen collection and transport
• Specimen preparation
• Test selection and test availability
• Biosafety considerations • Staffing challenges
• Evolution of testing during and after the pandemic


Sherry Dunbar is an employee and stock shareholder of Luminex Corporation. Luminex is publicly traded company (NASDAQ: LMNX) that manufactures instruments and assays used in research and clinical diagnostics. No other competing interests for any of the Guest Editors.


Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, clinical laboratory, clinical diagnostics, microbiology molecular biology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

21 June 2021 Abstract
19 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

21 June 2021 Abstract
19 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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