As we look forward to 2022 and take stock on what has been another unexpected year that was, I can only assume we will again need to be prepared for the unexpected. Australians & New Zealanders have responded to the call to vaccinate with the genuine hope for opening up within and beyond. Ultimately are we going to need to effectively manage living alongside the virus. It is a timely moment to applaud what has been accomplished by the pathology profession and determine where we will aspire to achieve next.

In this issue of Diagnostics Update we examine how the Pathfinder sample handling system enables a busy laboratory to track unprocessed COVID-19 samples, so that they can be located and prioritised. The Pathfinder system supports departments who have not traditionally dealt with the volumes of requests they currently see so optimising every moment is crucial.

We share how Abbott's rapid testing technologies are reducing the spread of respiratory viruses among hospital staff and patients and enabling Victorians to safely visit loved ones in aged care. Rapid antigen COVID-19 tests are complementing PCR tests in supporting communities.

As international borders re-open, laboratories must prepare for the prospect of a return to a major influenza season something not seen in Australia for the past two years. Coronavirus and influenza have similar symptoms so being able to know which virus is presenting in a person is paramount. A Queensland laboratory tells of its experience of Abbott's Alinity m molecular platform, enabling an effective and timely public health response.

And we learn of new research that shows the potential for Abbott's troponin assays to safely reduce unnecessary trips to metropolitan hospitals among rural residents experiencing chest pain - avoiding disruption to patient's lives and limiting strain on local ambulance services. The researchers profiled in the article are the recent recipients of a UNIVANTS of Healthcare Excellence Award. The award recognises teams who collaborate across disciplines to transform healthcare delivery – a prominent accolade of which Abbott is a partner. The achievement recognises their unwavering commitment to improve healthcare outcomes, something closely aligned to our own goals and vision. I am always impressed by their fearless determination to challenge traditional healthcare paradigms.

As we move to the next chapter in the tale of the pandemic, a constant has been the dedication and ingenuity of all involved, both with COVID-19 and in every aspect of diagnostics. It is a source of inspiration and pride.