Newswise — Northfield, IL—The College of American Pathologists (CAP), in response to the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, released a new proficiency testing (PT) program for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2).

PT is used to gauge the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests and monitors continuing performance while comparing performance with other laboratories.

“In the midst of the enormous pressure laboratories are facing, along with everyone working in health care during the COVID-19 crisis, laboratories are seeking to measure their performance when testing for the disease,” said Raouf Nakhleh, MD, FCAP, chair of the CAP’s Council on Scientific Affairs. “The CAP’s Microbiology Committee quickly came together to develop this high-quality program.”

Microbiology Committee members piloted the new program with a set of laboratories prior to making it available, allowing committee members and CAP staff to verify specimen performance across the multiple methods and testing platforms. Specifically, the program is for the detection of SARS CoV-2 by nucleic and amplification testing. Further, it:

  • Provides samples that are non-infectious and target consensus gene regions N, E, RdRp, and ORF1a
  • Allows laboratories to assess their entire workflow from nucleic acid extraction through detection

For information on how to order SARS CoV-2 PT, 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.

About the College of American Pathologists

As the world's largest organization of board-certified pathologists and leading provider of laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing programs, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. For more information, read the 2018 CAP Annual Report at CAP.ORG.