October 19, 2021

Following a successful Stakeholder Program on Agent Detection Assays (SPADA) launch meeting at the 2021 AOAC Annual Meeting, SPADA Working Group 3, Reference Database and In Silico Processes Validation, met on October 4, and again on October 18. This working group, chaired by Dr. Michael Sussman, aims to create validation criteria and confidence parameters in reference genome databases. At the meeting, Dr. Sussman gave an overview of SPADA, working group goals, next generation sequencing (NGS), and challenges to the field. Working group members discussed the scope of work and next steps, highlighting that a Guidance Document may be a product of the group in addition to Standard Method Performance Requirements® (SMPR®).

Working Group 2, Standards for NGS Biothreat Agent Detectors, met on October 8, discussing the development of standards for the NGS biothreat agent detectors that encompass both PCR-based amplicon sequencing applications and metagenomic applications.

Additional working groups will meet on the following days:

  • WG1 – Detection Capabilities with NGS (Chair: Dr. Tim Minogue, USAMRIID) will meet Friday, October 22, 2021, 1:00 PM ET – 2:30 PM ET. The Working Group’s mission is to advance the utility of reference microbial sequencing databases to evaluate, develop, and support detection capabilities using NGS applications for deployable diagnostic kits and platforms/detectors.

How to Be Active and Engaged with SPADA

  1. Be an Advisory Panel Member – Provide funding support and assist AOAC in setting priorities and deliverables for working groups. There are four (4) meetings per year.
  2. Be a Working Group Chair – Subject matter experts who work with staff to launch and lead working groups to develop and present deliverables to stakeholders. Staff and working group chairs coordinate biweekly working group meetings.
  3. Be a Working Group Member – Subject matter experts in aspects of the priority topic area and scope of the working groups required to accomplish deliverables. Active participation is required during biweekly working group meetings and in offline working group collaboration.
  4. Be a General Stakeholder – Anyone with a material interest in the program’s work who is not in a working group. Attend meetings, review and comment on draft consensus documents, participate in program discussions, and demonstrate community consensus on any consensus-based deliverables.

Interested in Participating?

If you are interested in serving on a SPADA working group, becoming an advisory panel member, or participating as a general stakeholder, complete the SPADA participation form. You will be added to the AOAC SPADA roster and receive SPADA-related updates and news. For more information about SPADA, please contact Palmer Orlandi at [email protected].

AOAC SPADA is a funded integrated science program formed in 2007 to develop voluntary consensus standards for advancing detection capability of biothreat agents in support of the public health, public safety and security, and the safety of those serving in military service. SPADA has developed more than 20 voluntary consensus standards and consensus documents. In 2020, AOAC published SPADA developed consensus documents for soils testing, bacterial strain verification, and in silico analysis. Funding to initiate this program of work is made available by US DUSA TE, US JPEO, Abbott Nutrition, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.