SPADA Develops SMPRs for Bacillus anthracis in Visible White Powders
and SMPRs and Strain Panels for Aerosolized Burkholderia
The AOAC Stakeholder Panel on Agent Detection Assays (SPADA) on June 2-3, 2010, reached consensus on standard method performance requirements (SMPRs) for portable PCR-based technologies for the detection of Bacillus anthracis in visible white powders and on SMPRs and strain panels for PCR-based technologies to detect aerosolized Burkholderia (B. mallei and B. pseudomallei).
Earlier this year, AOAC launched an effort to expand its biothreat activities to include new agents and technologies. SPADA and working groups on B. anthracis and Burkholderia examined work previously done for B. anthracis to determine if it can be applied to the new intended use (portable PCR-based assays for visible powders). Prior to the current initiative, SPADA had approved strain panels and SMPRs for PCR-based assays to detect B. anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis in aerosol collection filters and/or liquids and antibody-based hand-held assays (HHAs) for the detection of B. anthracis and ricin in visible powders.
As presented by Paul Keim (Northern Arizona University), co-chair of the Burkholderia Working Group, a 60 strain panel was recommended for evaluating and validating detection assays targeting B. mallei and B. pseudomallei. Among the selection criteria included genetic diversity, known genetic/phylogenetic relationships, identification of the closest strains possible to the target, practical constraints associated with assay development and validation, and practicality with common laboratory formats. SPADA approved the recommended panels for B. mallei, B. pseudomallei, and near neighbors.
Based on working group recommendations, SPADA also approved in June 2010 the environmental factors panel and SMPRs, which were both previously approved for PCR-based technologies for aerosolized B. anthracis, Y. pestis, and F. tularensis, as suitable for Burkholderia.
Ted Hadfield (Midwest Research Institute), co-chair of the B. anthracis Working Group, presented an overview of the working group’s activities. At the meeting in March 2010, SPADA approved inclusivity, exclusivity, and a modified environmental factors panel. Since the March 2010 meeting, the working group developed draft SMPRs for portable PCR methodology for B. anthracis in visible powders. On June 2, 2010, SPADA approved SMPRs as recommended by the B. anthracis Working Group.
For more information, contact Deborah McKenzie, senior director, methods development and approval processes, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott Coates, chief scientific officer, at email@example.com. Full coverage is scheduled for the July/August issue of Inside Laboratory Management.