May 18, 2020

Emergency Response Validation Project will streamline expert review of SARS-CoV-2 Virus Test Kits

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, USA, May 18, 2020 — AOAC INTERNATIONAL today announced the launch of a project to evaluate and certify the performance of test kits that detect the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the causative agent of COVID-19 illness, on environmental surfaces.

The project will employ the Emergency Response Validation option of the AOAC Research Institute’s Performance Tested Methods Program. This option allows for evaluation and review of multiple test kit models simultaneously, to accelerate the availability and variety of certified test kits. The AOAC Research Institute is a division of AOAC INTERNATIONAL.

The Performance Tested Methods program provides independent third-party expert review and certification for proprietary test method performance. The certification mark assures users that an independent assessment found that test method performance meets an appropriate standard for its intended use.

Environmental surface test kits are designed to be used on-site by a layman, and may include sample collection swabs, safety equipment such as gloves and alcohol wipes, and shipping materials for sending collected samples to a laboratory.

Environmental monitoring is already common in the food industry to monitor facilities for pathogens and allergens and to determine if sanitation programs are being effective. Reliable tests for detecting coronavirus on environmental surfaces are critical to food supply chain and retail businesses concerned with protecting workers and consumers as public health restrictions are relaxed.

While the primary path of coronavirus transmission is through person-to-person contact, virus-carrying respiratory droplets can remain on surfaces and transmission can also occur through contact with these surfaces. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April indicates that viable coronavirus can remain for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and four hours on copper.

The AOAC INTERNATIONAL Emergency Response Validation Project is projected to be underway on or about June 15, 2020. For more information contact Scott Coates at scoates@aoac.org or 301-924-7077 ext. 137.