2020 Bd/Bsal/Ranavirus QA/QC Program Announcement
The Diagnostics Working Group of the North American Bsal Task Force, with funding support from Environment and Climate Change Canada, is following up on an effort to provide an accessible method for quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) to laboratories working on amphibian pathogens. We will conduct a PCR ring test (round robin) for emerging amphibian pathogens that will allow participating laboratories to confidentially evaluate the quality of their results, be it for diagnostic or research purposes. Participation is voluntary and open to all laboratories currently running tests for the target pathogens.
Briefly, a set of 16 blinded randomized samples will be shipped to each participating laboratory, at no cost, to undergo testing for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, B. salamandrivorans and Ranavirus sp. The samples will consist of cotton swabs infused with inactivated zoospores of the chytrid fungi and/or inactivated Ranavirus sp (Frog virus 3), at varying concentrations, as well as blanks. A set of samples will be shipped to a contact person in each participating laboratory who will agree to perform the tests (and absorb their reagent costs) and upload their results to a website portal within 3-5 weeks of receiving the material. Tests will be run and interpreted as per each laboratory’s standard operating procedures. They may be run singly or in triplicate (the latter being recommended).
Participants will report their results "positive" or "negative" and, if run by qPCR, include their respective Cq (Ct) values and estimated copy numbers. A subset of participants will be asked to run the tests both with their in-house standards and those provided by us.
Once the round robin is closed, results will be compiled, tabulated and analyzed by comparing each laboratory's results against the known composition of the samples and against other laboratory's results. Each laboratory will be informed of where its results stand in comparison to other laboratories, but the standings of individual laboratories will remain confidential.
A summary of all results (maintaining confidentiality regarding individual laboratories) will be posted on the Diagnostics Group page of the Bsal Task Force’s website after all participants have had a chance to review their individual feedback.
We expect to ship the sets of blind samples in early November 2020, and expect laboratories to provide their results by early December, at the latest.
How to participate
The deadline to signup is September 30th, 2020.
Please contact Dr. Maria Forzan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about how to participate.