June 23, 2021

The AOAC Stakeholder Program on Agent Detection Assays (SPADA) is launching new work in the following areas:

  • Detection capabilities using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)
  • Consensus standards for NGS biothreat agent detectors based on both PCR-based amplicon sequencing applications and metagenomic applications
  • Developing validation criteria for reference database and in silico processes.

The following new SPADA working groups are forming:

  • WG1 – Detection Capabilities with NGS (Chair: Dr. Tim Minogue, USAMRIID): Advance the utility of reference microbial sequencing databases to evaluate, develop and support detection capabilities using next generation sequencing applications for deployable diagnostic kits and platforms/detectors
  • WG2 – Standards for NGS Biothreat Agent Detectors: Development of standards for NGS biothreat agent detectors that encompass both PCR-based amplicon sequencing applications and metagenomic applications
    • Subgroup on Amplicon Sequencing Applications (Chair: Dr. Shanmuga Sozhamannan, DOD JPEO)
    • Subgroup on Metagenomic Applications (Chair: TBD)
  • WG3 – Reference Database and In Silico Processes Validation (Chair: Dr. Michael Sussman, USDA AMS): Creation of validation criteria and confidence parameters in reference genome databases

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 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 new SPADA working group, becoming an advisory panel member, or participating as a general stakeholder, complete the SPADA participation form below. 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.