Frontiers of Microbiology - Early Detection of Pandemic

The recent global COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on ideas about hygiene, human microbes, and human health. Microorganism evolution and the threat of disease it poses to both people and animals have existed since the early 18th century. Microorganisms are living things that are invisible to the unaided eye. It contains pathogens that cause a variety of hazardous diseases, such as bacteria, viruses, fungus, protozoa, and actinomycetes. The 2019 outbreak made it simple for the overall public to comprehend microorganisms.

The infectious disease causing organisms must be found in order to treat any disease. Infectious disease diagnosis is not always simple. It can be challenging to identify the infecting organisms. The traditional technique of diagnosis is isolating, identifying, and testing the specific organisms for antibiotic susceptibility, which typically takes three to seven days. Conventional diagnostic techniques have been replaced by modern technology. The most popular technology utilized globally is PCR, which is employed in many rapid diagnosis techniques. The most popular, dependable, and illuminating method to reflect the full properties of any organism and the diseases it causes is molecular techniques (using DNA, RNA, and plasmids).

Modern molecular techniques have now supplanted conventional approaches in the developed world because they offer quick, accurate, and comprehensive information about diseases. The more quickly diseases are diagnosed, the faster they can be treated. The molecular approaches employ more complex procedures, such as PCR, sequencing, Minion, bio-analyzers, MALDI-TOF MS, etc., that can produce data quickly. Even cutting-edge molecular approaches can identify strains and antibiotic resistance early on.

Speaking of Nepal, it is still among the least developed countries, and the microbiology lab has minimal resources in addition to a dearth of cutting-edge and modern tools. Even during the COVID-19 outbreak, the government was not efficient in deploying microbiologists, such as university graduates, and providing complete lab facilities for the general public. The suspension of manpower and lack of resources has acceptable justifications because diagnosis and therapy are ridiculous issues for a legitimate public platform.

Since Nepal is far behind in terms of modern technology, policymakers must enhance and manage the efficient use of resources and manpower in order to establish a microbiological laboratory there. It is time to modernize the development of the infrastructure in microbiology labs and to increase the number of microbiologists using the appropriate platform.

Dr Shrestha holds a PhD in Microbiology from Hokkaido University, and is currently a senior faculty member at Kathmandu College of Science & Technology (KCST), Kamalpokhari, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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