Point of care diagnostics and infectious diseases
Access to rapid, reliable Point-of-care (POC) testing for the diagnosis of infectious diseases offers potentially substantial benefits for the management of infectious diseases, mainly by shortening the time to result and by making the tests available at the bedside or at remote care centers thereby impacting clinical decision. These tests bypass the need for sophisticated laboratory systems or the need for personnel with specialized training, thereby addressing the need to support initial diagnoses, defining antimicrobial/antiviral administration, and narrowing evolving clinical differentials. Although, POC tests were historically limited to and well established in laboratory disciplines such as clinical chemistry and hematology, there are now a growing range of commercial POC tests already widely available for the diagnosis of bacterial and viral infections and for parasitic diseases, including malaria. In addition to rapid diagnosis of infections, home-based, over-the-counter POC HIV testing has empowered patients to self-test in the privacy of their homes, especially for stigmatized diseases.