April 2020

LGC Coronavirus Proficiency Test offers laboratories quality assurance

LGC today launched a Proficiency Testing (PT) service for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19) by nucleic acid amplification testing, one of the first global schemes for COVID-19.

As increasing numbers of diagnostic methods are made available in the global fight against COVID 19, it is essential that laboratories ensure that their application of methods and subsequent results are reliable and accurate - using external quality assurance tools including Proficiency Testing.

Brian Brookman, Director, Proficiency Testing, LGC, said, “In today’s crisis, our core purpose of Science for a Safer World could not be more relevant and important. LGC is directly involved in many areas of COVID-19 related work - from supporting diagnostic kit manufacturers, diagnostic testing and clinical research, to providing quality assurance tools to ensure reliability of measurements being made. By utilising this new proficiency testing program for SARS-CoV-2, clinical laboratories worldwide will have an additional vital tool to add to their external quality assurance measures and ensure confidence in their results.”

Derek Craston, Chief Scientific Officer, LGC, adds, “Recent political statements that ‘a bad test is worse than no test’ in our fight against the COVID-19 virus emphasise the need for an approach to testing that addresses quality at all levels.

“LGC is committed to this objective through the provision of carefully manufactured and quality controlled critical reagent components that form an integral part of testing protocols, by providing characterised materials for test validation and control, in supporting international comparative studies, and now by establishing a global proficiency testing scheme.

“Proficiency testing is a central component of a robust quality system and enables laboratories to benchmark performance and identify, where appropriate, areas for further improvement.”

Test Materials within the SARS-CoV-2 PT scheme are non-infectious and compatible with molecular assays targeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation consensus gene sequence regions, ORF1a, RdRp, E (Envelope), N (Nucleocapsid) and/or S (Spike).

LGC provides PT schemes to over 13,000 laboratories in more than 160 countries, conducting over 1,700 proficiency tests each year. PT is a requirement for accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 15189.

Learn more about proficiency testing on the LGC Standards website.