An HSJ and Siemens Healthineers roundtable discussed how the covid-19 testing regime has developed to date, how it will need to evolve further to consistently reach the right person with the right test at the right time, and what its likely legacy will be for the diagnostics sphere as a whole

Read the detailed report of the roundtable here

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The words “testing” and “game changer” have frequently been seen together in the months since the pandemic began. Boris Johnson initially applied the phrase to antibody testing and then in September to rapid mass testing of asymptomatic individuals, which he suggested could offer a route to renewed social gatherings even pre-widespread vaccination.

But away from such high profile proclamations, how has covid-19 testing actually developed? And how could and should it develop in the longer term?

In mid-December 2020, HSJ brought together a panel of prominent experts to discuss these complicated questions. The resulting roundtable, which was run in association with Siemens Healthineers, proved a lively and wide ranging discussion.

The panel

  • Catharina Boehme, chief executive, FIND
  • Tim Brooks, clinical services director, rare and imported pathogens laboratory, Public Health England
  • Alex Cooper, director of mass testing, NHS Test and Trace
  • Ara Darzi, incoming president, British Science Association; Paul Hamlyn chair of surgery, Imperial College, London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research; director, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College, London; honorary consultant surgeon, Imperial College Hospital Trust
  • Jon Deeks, professor of biostatistics, University of Birmingham
  • Peter Harrison, managing director, Siemens Healthineers
  • Stewart Hutton, diagnostics business lead, Siemens Healthineers
  • Sarah-Jane Marsh, chief executive, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Foundation Trust and former director of testing, NHS Test and Trace
  • Michael Messenger, principal scientific advisor – in vitro diagnostics, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA); visiting professor, University of Leeds
  • Mike Osborn, president, Royal College of Pathologists
  • Maggie Rae, president, Faculty of Public Health
  • Piers Ricketts, chair, The AHSN Network and chief executive, Eastern AHSN
  • Richard Tedder, senior research investigator, Imperial College Department of Infectious Disease; chair, Standing Advisory Committee on Microbiology/Virology, Royal College of Pathologists; member, Clinical Virology Advisory Group, Clinical Virology Network
  • Dave West, deputy editor, HSJ (roundtable chair)
  • Peter Wrighton-Smith, chief executive officer, Oxford Immunotec