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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 448 million cases and 6 million deaths worldwide to date. Omicron is now the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant, making up more than 90% of cases in countries reporting sequencing data. As the pandemic continues into its third year, continued testing is a strategic and necessary tool for transitioning to an endemic state of COVID-19. Here, we address three critical topics pertaining to the transition from pandemic to endemic: defining the endemic state for COVID-19, highlighting the role of SARS-CoV-2 testing as endemicity is approached, and recommending parameters for SARS-CoV-2 testing once endemicity is reached. We argue for an approach that capitalizes on the current public health momentum to increase capacity for PCR-based testing and whole genome sequencing to monitor emerging infectious diseases. Strategic development and utilization of testing, including viral panels in addition to vaccination, can keep SARS-CoV-2 in a manageable endemic state and build a framework of preparedness for the next pandemic.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Public Health

Publication Date





SARS-CoV-2, diagnosis, guidelines, public health, screening, surveillance, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Humans, Pandemics, SARS-CoV-2