EMQN collaborates with QCMD to launch Coronavirus Outbreak Preparedness EQA Pilot

3 months ago

EMQN  are pleased to announce a collaboration with QCMD to provide a pilot EQA scheme for coronaviruses which will include inactivated coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Please note registration is now closed.


A pneumonia of unknown origin detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019. The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019-nCoV) had been detected as the causative agent for the new respiratory disease named COVID-19, with fever followed by cough, dyspnoea, myalgia, and fatigue as the most commonly reported clinical symptoms in hospitalised patients. A median incubation period from five to six days is estimated, with a range of 2 – 14 days. In about 80% of cases the infection causes mild to moderate symptoms with or without pneumonia, from which most cases recover. However, 14% of patients develop severe disease and 6% require intensive medical care due to critical illness. The Elderly and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions have a significantly higher risk for severe disease and fatal outcome.

Since the first reported cases in China, the number of incidences has increased dramatically and ongoing clusters have rapidly appeared in several geographic regions. Therefore, the COVID-19 outbreak has been declared as Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO on 30 January 2020. The implementation of protocols for COVID-19 laboratory testing, diagnosis, surveillance and treatment are paramount for preparedness and response to the current epidemic.

Several commercial and in-house molecular assays detecting SARS-CoV-2 have been established or are currently under development. Some assays may detect only the novel coronavirus and some may also detect other strains that are genetically similar. In addition, the WHO provides an overview of available protocols: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/laboratory-guidance

Reliable laboratory testing is an essential part of the COVID-19 clinical management and outbreak control. There is an urgent need for external quality assessment (EQA) schemes to allow diagnostic laboratories to evaluate their own diagnostic methods. The EMQN / QCMD 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak Preparedness EQA Pilot scheme will offer laboratories, that have recently set up specific molecular diagnostics, the opportunity to assess the performance of their assays against international peer groups.

Panel Composition

The  panel will consist of eight whole pathogen panel members which should be analysed by molecular diagnostic techniques for SARS-CoV-2 or other human coronaviruses. Panel members containing SARS-CoV-2 are inactivated and not infectious. The quality assessment will focus on specificity and sensitivity to current clinically relevant coronaviruses.

All participants will receive a ‘real-time’ rapid report on submission of results, followed by a full EQA report with individual performance assessment and peer group assessment on completion of the study.

Please note: although this panel contains inactivated material it is important that each individual laboratory is aware of local regulations regarding importation and testing of the viral targets included in this panel.

The cost (available for registered EMQN users) is per sample panel. Laboratories can buy up to 2 panels.

Samples will be shipped on dry ice.  Shipping costs are not included and will be added after registration has closed. Shipping costs are applied per shipment and the price is dependant on location and importation requirements.

For more details please see our EQA scheme catalogue.

Registration is now closed. 

To register interest in this scheme please Contact Us

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