Computer usage in microbiology includes use in laboratory testing, analysis and reporting, accumulating and storing data, and in conducting research and testing. Computers also play a vital role in sharing information, identifying new diseases and epidemics, developing new treatments for diseases and infections, and in forecasting trends.
Reports dating as far back as 1971 document the use of computers for preparing reports of patient test results. By 1984, scientists realized the potential for interlacing microcomputers performing lab work with larger machines to form information networks between hospitals and laboratories.
Computers continue to perform these and additional functions and play a greater role in assembling and analyzing data and disseminating results. Researchers use computers to help develop and maintain experimental controls, such as environmental conditions, during tests. Computers help researchers assess the susceptibility or resistance of various strains to medications.
Computers also assist researchers in identifying and analyzing new strains of organisms, and in developing new medications to treat them. Other uses include the development of computer models to forecast the spread of diseases and predict outbreaks and epidemics.