External quality assessment scheme for detection, isolation and characterisation of influenza viruses for the European Reference Laboratory Network for Human Influenza – 2015

Technical report External quality assessment
Time period covered: June - July 2015
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. External quality assessment scheme for detection, isolation and characterisation of influenza viruses for the European Reference Laboratory Network for Human Influenza – 2015. Stockholm: ECDC; 2016.

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​In June and July 2015, an influenza virus rapid detection, isolation and characterisation external quality assessment (EQA) exercise was held for European influenza reference laboratories. This was the fourth rapid detection, isolation and characterisation EQA panel distributed by the European Reference Laboratory Network for Human Influenza.
As with previous panels, the performance of laboratories in the rapid detection component of the exercise was encouraging. Thirty-four of the 38 laboratories achieved top marks, with 92% of laboratories receiving a maximum score. As expected, results from the antigenic characterisations reflected the difficulties that have been described with A(H3N2) subtypes. The subgroup 3C.2a isolate proved challenging, with only nine of the 26 laboratories reporting the correct strain characterisation (Figure 9A). Overall virus characterisation results, based on the combined results from genetic and antigenic characterisation, have improved over the last three EQA panels.

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