European Study Links Genes Inherited from Neanderthals to Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19 Infections in Today’s Humans

About 50% of South Asians and 16% of Europeans carry gene cluster associated with respiratory failure after SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization Clinical pathology laboratories and medical laboratory scientists may be intrigued to learn that scientists from two research institutes in Germany and Sweden have determined that a strand of DNA associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 in humans is similar to the corresponding DNA sequences of a roughly 50,000-year-old Neanderthal from...

Boston University School of Medicine Study Finds Vitamin D May Help Patients Fight COVID-19 Infections, But Some Question These Conclusions

Clinical laboratory managers may want to follow the debate that surfaced shortly after publication of the study in a peer-reviewed journal, when editors of the journal issued concerns over the researchers’ claims Virologists and medical laboratory scientists continue to investigate ways the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can be defeated using the body’s own defenses in conjunction with medical treatments and a possible vaccine. Now, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have...

Three Prominent Clinical Laboratory Leaders Make the Same Prediction: COVID-19 Testing Will Be Significant Through 2020 and Throughout 2021

CEOs of NorDx Laboratories, Sonora Quest Laboratories, and HealthPartners/Park Nicollet Laboratories expect demand for SARS-CoV-2 tests to only increase in coming months AUSTIN, TEXAS—For clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups in the United States, the single most urgent question is this: how long will the need for substantial volumes of COVID-19 testing continue? Last Wednesday, that question was answered in a most definitive way by CEOs of three nationally-prominent clinical...

Blackstone Buys Stake in Ancestry for $4.7 Billion, While Interest in Direct-to-Consumer Genealogy Genetic Tests May Be Fading Among Consumers

Though gene sequencing is touted as a key component of precision medicine, the medical value of direct-to-consumer testing has yet to show up in improved health outcomes, nor have clinical laboratories benefitted In a recent example that the market for genetic genealogy testing may have peaked and the days of spectacular growth in the number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic test orders and revenue is over, private-equity firm Blackstone—in a $4.7 billion deal—announced it will acquire a...

Guidehouse Healthcare Experts Outline Six Ways COVID-19 Pandemic Is Accelerating Healthcare Transformation

Financial losses for hospitals and health systems due to cancelled procedures and coronavirus expenses will lead to changes in healthcare delivery, operations, and clinical laboratory test ordering COVID-19 is reshaping how people work, shop, and go to school. Is healthcare the next target of the coronavirus-induced transformation? According to two experts, the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing hospitals and health systems toward a “fundamental and likely sustained transformation,” which means...

Whistleblower Lawsuit Alleges Massive Fraud in Cigna Medicare Advantage Plans

A former officer of a Cigna contractor claims the insurer hatched a scheme to submit invalid diagnostic codes and filed the now-unsealed qui tam action in 2017 In a case that could provide a cautionary tale for clinical laboratories, a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Cigna, through its HealthSpring subsidiary, “received billions in overpayments from the federal government” in a scheme involving the insurer’s Medicare Advantage plans. The Qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit was filed by...