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Utility of reference materials for Zika Virus nucleic acid testing

Kempster, Sarah L., Dougall, Thomas, Morris, Clare, Gonzalez-Escobar, Gabriel, Almond, Neil, Anderson, Rob
Biologicals 2019 v.61 pp. 55-60
Zika virus, blood, gene amplification, nucleic acids, quality control, North America, South America
The emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas has resulted in increased nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) of clinical samples and blood donations. New molecular diagnostic assays have been developed resulting in a corollary requirement for ZIKV reference material. To address this we have produced and calibrated two African lineage ZIKV reference materials: a highly concentrated secondary standard (NIBSC: 16/110) and a lower concentration external quality control (QC) reagent (NIBSC: 16/124) and compared their performance in three ZIKV NAT assays in relation with the First International Standard (IS) for Zika Virus NAT assays (PEI: 11468/16). In summary the African lineage ZIKV reference materials were detected by all three assays. The ZIKV lineage did not affect the performance of the secondary standard. The external QC reagent (16/124) was detected by all three assays highlighting its suitability for use as a low positive control to monitor assay performance on a regular basis. The relative potency of 16/110 to the IS was 5.49E+06IU/mL (95% CI: 1.46E+06–2.06E+07) and 16/124 to 16/110 was 8.36E+03 (95% CI: 7.83E+03–8.92E+03). The global availability of African lineage ZIKV reference materials will facilitate standardization of ZIKV molecular diagnostic assays between and within laboratories whilst preserving the IS.