What CDC lab functions could look like under new center proposal

The CDC could restructure its lab operations under recent recommendations made by its Laboratory Workgroup.

KFF Health News reported Aug. 21 that the organization planned to overhaul its lab operations after mishaps with its COVID-19 test. 

The CDC's Laboratory Workgroup — a panel of lab researchers, public health officials, policy experts and physicians that provides input on the agency's lab operations — released a report in February detailing the failings of the agency's COVID-19 test with recommendations for improvements. These recommendations included consolidating lab support functions into a new center.

The agency has already made changes or is in the process of implementing them to address the shortcomings. 

Here are six notes on what the CDC's lab operations could look like under the new center, based on report recommendations:

1. The workgroup recommended a new leader be brought in to oversee lab functions under the new center. Among their responsibilities would be developing a national lab system, setting policies, establishing plans for developing tests for novel pathogens and overseeing safety across all basic research and clinical laboratories.

2. The new center could focus on clinical lab quality, lab safety, workforce training, readiness and response, and manufacturing.

3. The center would include several lab divisions, including the Office of Laboratory Science and Safety, the biological arm of the Laboratory Response Network Program, and the divisions of scientific resources and laboratory systems.

4. The center would also be used for setting and enforcing laboratory quality standards and would oversee the quality assurance program for all CDC labs.

5. The center would support several laboratory professionals brought in to oversee various lab divisions.

6. The workgroup said consolidating labs under a new center would create more pathways to advancement for lab professionals, which could help with recruitment by making the agency a more attractive place to work.


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