IFCC Information Guide on COVID-19IFCC Information Guide on COVID-19: A Global Resource Made and Designed for Clinical Laboratorians

Mary Kathryn Bohn & Dr. Khosrow Adeli

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused much of the world to stand still, the scientific community has been more active than ever, engaging in research at an unprecedented rate to support the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as vaccine development. Laboratorians have been particularly vital in these efforts, validating and implementing SARS-CoV-2 molecular, antigen, and serology tests in perhaps the fastest “bench to bedside” transition in history. Since the beginning of 2020, more than 90,000 peer-reviewed articles have been published on the novel coronavirus, with many focused on laboratory testing. Rapid release publications, especially those in early 2020, have contributed to the information overload where recent reports become rapidly out-of-date. Staying on top of the literature in this ever-changing landscape is incredibly difficult, especially given the heightened challenges and stresses during this time.

In early 2020 and shortly after the pandemic was announced by WHO, a Taskforce on COVID-19 was established by IFCC to develop tentative guidance and consensus documents related to biosafety, SARS-COV-2 testing, as well as biochemical monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 patients.  In a time of much uncertainty, the IFCC Taskforce immediately recognized a need for a consolidated online resource to provide key information on SARS-CoV-2 tailored to laboratorians around the world. The IFCC Information Guide on COVID-19 was rapidly developed by IFCC Taskforce members, including Drs. Giuseppe Lippi (Italy), Andrea Horvath (Australia) and Khosrow Adeli (Canada), students/fellows, including Mary Kathryn Bohn (Canada) and Dr. Simon Thompson (Australia), and IFCC staff members, including Silvia Colli-Lanzi. This e-learning platform was first published on March 23rd 2020, containing descriptive summaries and links to key resources/publications on a variety of COVID-19-related topics, including: epidemiology, patient screening, biosafety, pathogenesis, and laboratory testing. Since its initial publication, many laboratorians have worked together to regularly update it with the most recent peer-reviewed information on a biweekly basis. New sections, including antigen testing, vaccination, and big data tools, have been developed and published as literature and clinical practice evolves. The guide also includes links to testing guidelines by prominent societies, including the work of the IFCC Taskforce on COVID-19 and the CSCC Special Interest Working Group on COVID-19. This up-to-date repository of scientific articles has truly been a global effort designed to help laboratorians keep on top of the literature in these unprecedented times.

Moving into 2021, the IFCC Information Guide on COVID-19 will continue to be updated with input from scientists and laboratorians worldwide. If you have suggestions or would like to contribute, please do not hesitate to contact guide coordinators Mary Kathryn Bohn (marykathryn.bohn@sickkids.ca) or Dr. Khosrow Adeli (khosrow.adeli@sickkids.ca).