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EMN TraceLabMed members contribute to improving the accuracy and quality of coronavirus testing procedures
For more than a year now, the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns have stopped large parts of the world in its tracks. Much longer than expected, European governments are still facing decisions concerning the gradual tightening or easing of lockdown restrictions. Policy-makers must refer to figures to influence these crucial decisions, where the rate of accrual of new infections for any given population is a particularly important consideration.
Reliable testing results are obviously very important components to support these decisions and to control the pandemic with as few restrictions as possible. In response to this need, quality infrastructures comprising all aspects of quality assurance, including metrology, are essential to warrant accurate and reliable tests for detecting and montioring COVID-19.
EURAMET’s Metrology Network for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine
Members of EURAMET’s European Metrology Network for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (EMN TraceLabMed) are playing an important role in this response to our global public health crisis.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, TraceLabMed members have strived to support worldwide healthcare systems in a time of on-going, immense public health pressures - by providing metrological expertise for diagnostic medical devices and tests, and by participating in serveral international ring trials to assess the performance of potential reference methods for COVID-19 testing. In addition, these methods were used to assign values to research grade reference and control materials to support standardisation of test results obtained with different methods and assays on the market.
Traceability for COVID-19 tests
The testing procedure for the coronavirus is often complicated by the stage of the infection in patients. Moreover, the lack of sensitivity of tests can result in a large proportion of the infections at any given time point being missed, and results can also vary wildly for different test providers. Due to the urgent need for quick test results, many tests have been developed and have gained European market access under the still-applicable in vitro diagnostic directive (IVDD).
To compare the quality of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, testing laboratories are making use of well-characterised common reference materials. In fact, members of TraceLabMed are working to develop metrological tools that can answer a multitude of important questions surrounding the quality of testing – from the limits of detection and quantification, to the precision of measurements of known reference substance amounts in a sample. The institutes’ continuing efforts will shed valuable insight into the most preferable tests available across Europe, and ultimately, support the advancement of testing and diagnoses for the coronavirus infection.
Contact the EMN
As a specialised network focused on laboratory testing, TraceLabMed is building a coordinated metrology-based infrastructure to enhance the validity of in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) that influence the vast majority of medical decisions made over a patient’s lifetime.
If you wish to become a member or partner of the network, request help, or if you have any other questions, please contact us via TraceLabMed’s website: https://www.euramet.org/laboratory-medicine.
To see an interview of one of our EMN members, please feel free to visit this webpage on INRIM’s (the National Metrology Institute of Italy) website: Interview with Carla Divieto. INRIM is also taking part in several other initiatives to fight COVID-19, which you can learn more about here >>
For World Metrology Day 2021, INRIM is additionally organising several talks >>
To find out more about the metrology network’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, please visit EURAMET’s new webpage: Traceability in Laboratory Medicine - the COVID-19 response.
Please note: This story has been updated on 19 May 2021. It was originally published on 31 July 2020.
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