In close collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for Quality Assessment in Medical Laboratories in Nijmegen (The Netherlands), the Starworms team has organized and piloted the first international external quality assessment scheme of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) for the detection of Schistosoma and soiltransmitted helminths (including Strongyloides).
This pilot study aimed to:
- assess the feasibility of designing and delivering a technically and logistically challenging EQAS for the detection of Schistosoma and STHs, including Strongyloides in both preserved stool and DNA samples
- evaluate and compare the diagnostic performance of laboratories, and
- to gain insights in the diversity of the different NAAT protocols used
In order to do so, a panel of 12 validated stool samples and 8 DNA samples were distributed among participating laboratories across the globe, after which laboratories performed their respective in-house DNA extraction and NAAT protocols. Later, they reported the test results and completed a questionnair on their methodology. Finally, all results were analyzed and feedback on diagnostic performance was provided.
The results revealed that although most laboratories performed well, there were clearly some laboratories that may need to improve their test protocol. It was also noteworthy that nearly all laboratores were applying a different protocol for their respective NAAT, highlighting a highly fragmented diagnostic landscape in need of some standardization. Further research should aim to verify whether this has an impact on the performance of the diagnostic outcomes.
From today onwards, SKML plans to provide a HEMQAS open to laboratories from all over the world. (more info)
You can now read the uncorrected Proof of the manuscript HERE!