The COVID-19 pandemic still remains a complicated puzzle for all medical experts. In fact, almost all efforts and resources have been redirected to address the 2019 novel coronavirus. Almost every other major disease is no longer on anyone's radar as studies push forward to develop a vaccine or treatment that will hopefully end the health crisis. Accurate data is essential in order for public health officials to make important decisions that could save lives and prevent another major outbreak. However, it seems the current approach in the United Kingdom will potentially cause problems.

This issue is attributed to the growing number of coronavirus testing facilities that were originally established to streamline COVID-19 patient diagnosis. As reported by the Independent, the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) is not in favour of the government's plans to put up even more Lighthouse Laboratories. While the intention is to beef up the SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity of the country. It intends to have one available for each National Health Service (NHS) region.

Even though this would allow local healthcare professionals to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within a specific area, there are instances of misreported data in the past. "Whilst we recognise the need to rapidly upscale testing capacity and the fact that this will be an ongoing requirement, we have consistently voiced our members' concerns about the centralised approach to testing," as stated by the IBMS.

Regrettably, "this has led to the creation of the Lighthouse Laboratories as a parallel but disconnected testing stream for Covid-19 and there has been a lack of transparency around processes of clinical governance and, in particular, the limited IT connectivity of these laboratories to clinical systems already in place," it added. Researchers have been warning governments against lifting restrictions as there are still no treatments or vaccines available for the disease.

UK health secretary, Matt Hancock
Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said while some of the children who have this new disease tested positive for the novel coronavirus, others had not. Photo: AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

The IBMS suggest that officials should focus on the existing labs first in order to resolve the issues involved with the submission of patient data. Otherwise, the addition of more of these facilities can potentially affect the accuracy of information being reported and analysed by scientists. On the other hand, several clinical trials are now being conducted in the UK that would hopefully deliver positive results soon.