Drugs, vaccines, pathogen vulnerabilities, information about genetics and genetic material - the cornerstones of modern medicine are laid in research laboratories. And without efficient laboratory diagnostics, we would not be able to detect and treat a wide range of diseases. Two reasons to celebrate laboratories and the people who work there at 23 April, World Laboratory Day.
The Corona pandemic has brought the importance of laboratories out of the professional world and into the public eye: Over the past two years, laboratories around the world have been performing the necessary Corona diagnostics, almost on a piecework basis, in order to be able to counteract the mass infection with the virus.
Professionals in the laboratory contribute a lot to modern medicine. They should be celebrated on World Laboratory Day.
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At the same time, however, the pandemic has also revealed limits. On the one hand, the laboratories' ability to work was limited by the availability of reagents and consumables, for which there were repeated supply problems. On the other hand, the employees also reached their limits, given the high number of tests that had to be performed. To ensure that the fight against future pandemics is no longer hampered by these problems, sustainable and secure supply chains need to be established for laboratory supplies.
We also need to support and relieve the burden on staff. This, in turn, can be achieved through increasing digitization and automation of laboratories. Laboratory automatons that process and evaluate samples independently, but still need to be operated by a human, have been around for a long time. They already represent a great relief, for example in mass testing. Complete laboratory lines that can perform a series of sequential tasks are also becoming increasingly widespread. In addition, laboratory robots are being developed which, in theory, should be able to carry out even complex procedures completely autonomously and around the clock.
However, the evolution of the laboratory also means that it is becoming less important - at least as a physical location. Point-of-care testing devices are conquering situations where traditional laboratory diagnostics take too long. The use of these devices eliminates transportation for samples, dependence on lab working hours, and therefore waiting time for results. While this is an increase in convenience for patients in doctors' offices because physicians receive results after a short time, it can save lives in emergency medicine or at intensive care units.
Regardless of how and where lab work is done, we should be aware of the many ways it holds medicine together. World Laboratory Day aims to raise awareness of this achievement. To contribute, users can use the hashtag #WorldLaboratoryDay on social media to share stories and achievements from their own lab.
Of course, the developments around the laboratory industry are also highly interesting for us. You can find a selection of the highlights from the MEDICA magazine here:
Digital and automated laboratory
A lot of laboratory tasks require high precision on one hand, on the other they tend to be repetitive and tiring. While humans can only work for a limited time here while staying effective, robots are able to work without taking a break. The start-up bAhead wants to make collaborative robots, CoBots, adaptable helpers with the help of AI. We learn more about this in this video interview.
The laboratory industry between Corona and AI
The laboratory industry is currently in commotion: the whole world is watching when it comes to news from the Corona pandemic. But tests and the sequencing of new variants are not the only stress factors: robotics, networking and AI are finding their ways into laboratories and turn existing processes upside down. We talked to some of the exhibitors at MEDICA 2021 about this.
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