A Review of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Role of Medical Laboratory Scientists in containment

IN Ibeh, SS Enitan, RY Akele, CC Isitua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Coronavirus Disease – 2019 (COVID-19) virus has infected more than one million people,
leaving more than 50,000 people dead across the globe. The health system of many countries has
been overwhelmed by the pandemic, with many losing a significant number of their health
professionals in the fight against the virus. While doctors and nurses are so visible at the front lines
and are being applauded for the gallant role they are playing in the recovery of hundreds of
thousands of COVID-19 patients, the world knows little about those behind their successes, the
Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS). Medical laboratory science is the bedrock of diagnostic
medicine and the role of the MLS in containing any pandemic cannot be overemphasized. An
effective and timely diagnostics approach is fundamental and germane for the successful
containment of any outbreak and the MLS are at the fore-front. They are the ones testing clinical
specimens from infected and clinically recovered patients. As disease detectives, their role in the
fight against the COVID-19 pandemic include, but not limited to: diagnosis, monitoring,
confirmation of recovery, safety and efficacy testing of broad-spectrum antiviral agents, discovery
and development of vaccines, validation of testing protocols and testing kits, offering of advisories
to guide government policy on containment at all levels amongst others. The current pandemic
requires a multidisciplinary approach and therefore the MLS should be fully integrated into the
multidisciplinary team to effective contain the pandemic. The aim of this review therefore is to
provide facts and figures about the COVID-19 pandemic, and to appraise the critical role of the
Medical Laboratory Scientists in the fight against the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-89
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Medical Laboratory Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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