Dear colleagues in amphibian health,
As you know, researchers and diagnosticians around the world are running PCR tests looking for the presence of emerging amphibian pathogens, particularly those notifiable to the OIE. Standardization of methodologies is difficult, and it is even more difficult for laboratories to acquire a certification such as that granted by organizations like the American Association of Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratories or ISO committees. 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
We realize this may not be an ideal time to conduct this round robin, with the world in the midst of a pandemic, but we hope those laboratories who are able to continue testing will consider participating. 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.
Please contact me (María Forzán, firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com) if you are interested in participating, or if you have any questions or comments regarding the way in which the ring test is to be conducted. It is CRUCIAL THAT YOU REPLY to this message BEFORE September 30th, 2020, so the total number of participating laboratories can be determined and the appropriate number of testing tubes prepared.
For information on a pilot round robin conducted in 2016, please go to our website: www.diagnostics.