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The world is focused on the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the syndrome caused by this coronavirus “COVID-19”, and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) has named the virus “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” or SARS-CoV-2.



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As part of the global effort to manage and contain this global public health emergency, two global health standards organizations, Regenstrief Institute and SNOMED International, are doing their part to support care teams globally to code and track SARS-CoV-2 testing and COVID-19 cases, and by extension support clinicians and researchers in their efforts to address its containment. 

Both subject matter experts in coding and structuring clinical information, Regenstrief Institute and SNOMED International have recently introduced new content to their respective products, a laboratory and health observations oriented coding system in the case of LOINC, and a broad spectrum clinical terminology in the case of SNOMED CT. With the high rate of global adoption for both standards, LOINC and SNOMED CT have taken swift action to make this content immediately available to support those on the ground in tackling the virus.

“With novel viruses that appear to be easily transmittable, such as the coronavirus, it is vitally important that all identified cases be reported quickly for public health tracking,” said Regenstrief Research Scientist Theresa Cullen, M.D., M.S., global health expert with the Regenstrief Institute. Don Sweete from SNOMED International says “the creation of new COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 codes and concepts from LOINC and SNOMED CT introduce the structure in coding needed for health systems internationally to manage the outbreak. Both Cullen and Sweete agree that in possessing superior data, health leaders worldwide can engage in a higher degree of analysis to inform their outbreak management approach. Based on the formal naming of the syndrome and virus by WHO and ICTV, both organizations are presently updating their respective code and concepts to reflect the change.
 
For more information on the specific actions that each organization has taken, visit Regenstrief Institute and SNOMED International respectively.
 
Regenstrief Institute and SNOMED International mutually recognize the importance of interoperability through standardization in the pursuit of timely, safe and efficient health care and continue to work collaboratively to achieve this end. 

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