Without a doubt, the top story of 2009 was the emergence of H1N1/swine flu and the ensuing international pandemic. An influenza pandemic had been anticipated for some time, and the response to the appearance of H1N1 has been truly impressive. Vaccines were developed, tested, and distributed in a matter of months, and multiple rapid and PCR-based assays became available. (For a summary of H1N1 biology and a discussion of some of these testing technologies, you can access CLP’s informative podcast discussion with Quest’s Jay Lieberman, MD, at the bottom of the page.)

Positive news arrived last month in the form of a report issued by Quest, The Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ Report “H1N1 Testing in America: End of the Second Wave?” covering the second wave of viral infections. Rates of testing declined more than 75% between late October and December. Quest warned, however, that the virus remains the dominant influenza in the United States and that millions of people are yet susceptible. The US Department of Health and Human Services also reminds us at flu.gov that, “The threat of the H1N1 flu is still very serious and very real. The virus is unpredictable, and it’s unclear whether we’ll see a third wave of outbreak.” At CLP, we’ll continue to cover this story and bring you all the info your lab needs to be prepared.

Our cover story this month concerns another widespread epidemic: the growing concern about diabetes. Close to 24 million Americans—a staggering 8% of the population—suffer from diabetes. Most worrisome, perhaps, is the increasing prevalence of insulin-independent or type 2 diabetes—formerly referred to as adult-onset diabetes—in children and teens. As CLP went to press with this issue, the American Diabetes Association issued new clinical practice recommendations promoting the hemoglobin A1C test as a means of identifying type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, stating: “Because the A1C is a simple blood test and does not require fasting, allowing patients this option could increase willingness to get tested, thereby reducing the number of people who have type 2 diabetes but don’t yet know it.” Read the feature and Tech Guide in this issue to learn more about A1C testing and additional diabetes assay products.

A very Happy and Healthy New Year to all of our readers and advertisers! Please take a look at the 2010 editorial calendar now available on this Web site, and don’t hesitate to contact me with ideas or suggestions. And please continue to send your news releases to .

Best regards,

Suzanne Clancy, PhD
editor, CLP

(858) 793-9533