Public perception of biomedical science damaged by Covid-19
9 Jul 2020
In a recent interview for the Laboratory News Podcast, virologist Dr Sarah Pitt spoke of concerns that the public’s lack of awareness of the important work conducted by diagnostic laboratories could lead to frustration.
Dr Pitt, based at the University of Brighton and Chief Virology Examiner at the institute of Biomedical Science said: “We didn't need to start from scratch with our testing response, we could have bolstered what we already had in the NHS. It’s really frustrating. Everyone is looking at my colleagues in the NHS labs and wondering, first of all why they have never heard of them before and then questioning if they are doing a good job.”
Despite a lot of media coverage of the testing response we have had in the UK, there is still concern over a general lack of understanding of how diagnostic laboratories function.
“On the news you’ll see a picture of a car park and they’ll refer to it as a testing centre. But it isn’t, that's a car park where they are collecting samples, no one is doing any testing there. And that doesn't help, because people understand a sample has been taken and then want a result, but don’t understand the bit in-between where all the hard work in the lab happens.”
“Often they don’t realise there are people in the lab doing these tests… I think they often picture it as just a futuristic black-box where samples go in and results come out. They don't think about the scientists doing the work.”
The IBMS has produced a video following a sample through a hospital laboratory showing how a PCR test on a suspected case of Covid-19 is done. You can see the video here.
You can listen to the full podcast episode with Dr Sarah Pitt here