The global COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly raised awareness of the role diagnostics play in disease prevention and management, so much so that some began to refer to 2020 as the launch point for the decade of diagnostics. And as noted in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO), “diagnostic testing has become indispensable for diagnosing and monitoring disease, for providing prognoses and for predicting treatment response.” 1
When the virus began to spread in early 2020, it quickly became apparent that diagnostics – and particularly, Roche – had a monumental part to play in the fight against this global health crisis.
With infectious diseases as well as in oncology and critical care, solutions that enable timely and targeted diagnosis and therapy decisions are the key to developing disease-prevention programs and to providing optimal treatment. These diseases often have an enormous impact not only on the people affected, but also on society as a whole.
During a pandemic, people who suffer from other serious diseases may unfortunately face delays in treatment and disease monitoring. Continuing to provide check-ups even during a pandemic is essential, as people depend on early diagnosis and rapid access to therapy to achieve the best possible results.
The pandemic has also shown the importance of collaboration between researchers, healthcare providers, regulatory authorities, patient advocacy groups and companies like Roche. Together, we can build even stronger, more sustainable health systems. As a healthcare pioneer, we will do our part by continuing to develop innovative diagnostic solutions that will help clinicians improve the lives of billions of people around the world.
Diagnostics and digital health infrastructure can make a major difference in countries' ability to cope with the pandemic and maintain health systems. Advanced diagnostic solutions enable patients and their clinicians to make critical decisions earlier, more accurately, and with greater confidence. These solutions help reduce hospitalization, enable targeted treatment strategies and improve chronic patient management in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
Health systems benefit from a strong portfolio of diagnostic tests and preventive medical check-ups. Not only do they see better treatment outcomes for their patients, but also fewer hospital stays and unnecessary examinations, which help lower costs for the healthcare system2.
For example, diseases such as cervical cancer could largely be prevented by early screening for human papillomavirus (HPV). Delays and interruptions in the early detection and monitoring of high-risk HPV infections could set back for years the planned eradication of cervical cancer.
Biomarkers are having a significant impact on cardiovascular diseases, which claim the lives of nearly 18 million people each year. The high sensitive cardiac troponin T biomarker can be used to help predict heart attack risk and mortality in non-cardiac surgery patients and assess long-term cardiovascular event risk in asymptomatic patients. For the millions of people worldwide suffering from heart failure, the NT-proBNP biomarker can help determine who might be more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to stroke, brain damage or death. It can also help identify which patients with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing heart failure.
To help better understand how diagnostics have a positive impact on your health, the health of the people you care about, and on society as a whole, we created the Value of Diagnostics Atlas. Driven by world-leading experts in medicine and laboratory science, the Atlas can guide you through the role of diagnostics for specific disease areas like cancer, heart disease, women’s health, neuroscience – and more. It will also show you how global collaboration, rapidly evolving digitalisation of healthcare, genetic testing and use of medical data are sparking a true healthcare revolution.
The podcast introduction to the Atlas features my conversation with Durhane Wong-Rieger, a rare disease expert and chairman of our advisory board. During the podcast, we will share why we are excited about the future and its benefits for all of us and explore the role of diagnostics in specific disease areas. We invite you to discover the Atlas – and the value of diagnostics.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. A guide to aid the selection of diagnostic tests. June 26, 2017. Available from:
The Value of Diagnostic Information in Personalised Healthcare: a comprehensive concept to facilitate bringing this technology into healthcare systems. September 2019. Available from:
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