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The College of American Pathologists (CAP), in response to continued patient needs in the global COVID-19 pandemic, released a new proficiency testing (PT) program for the detection of antigens of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Laboratories use PT to gauge their own performance for specific tests and monitor continuing performance while comparing their performance with other laboratories.
“Laboratories, as always, remain committed to high-quality achievement even in the wake of a worldwide pandemic,” said Raouf Nakhleh, MD, FCAP, chair of the CAP’s Council on Scientific Affairs, which oversees the CAP’s PT programs. “This newest COVID-19 program offers laboratories a quality assurance tool for conducting antigen testing.”
With the introduction of the antigen PT program, the CAP now offers a complete suite of PT programs for testing related to SARS-CoV-2, whether molecular or antigen testing for the virus or serology testing for antibodies to the virus. The CAP has also introduced its Quality Cross Check–SARS-CoV-2 Molecular program, which assesses instrument comparability. Several CAP scientific committees were instrumental in the rapid development and deployment of these PT and Quality Cross Check products to meet laboratories’ need.
The new SARS-CoV-2 antigen PT program was piloted prior to making it available, allowing committee members and CAP staff to verify specimen performance. Further, it:
- Provides samples that are non-infectious and contain inactivated virus to mimic patient testing
- Allows laboratories to assess the quality of their assays at least twice per year
For information on how to order any of the SARS-CoV-2 programs, please visit the CAP’s online store.
The CAP offers the most comprehensive PT programs that CAP members, who are board-certified pathologists, along with other scientists, scientifically develop and validate. More than 22,000 laboratories across the world are enrolled in the CAP’s PT programs.
Pathologists are medical doctors who are critical members of the health care team, combining a scientist's understanding of what laboratory evidence suggests and a specialty physician's knowledge of medicine to determine the correct diagnosis. On any given day, pathologists impact nearly all aspects of patient care, from diagnosing cancer to managing chronic diseases such as diabetes through accurate laboratory testing.