(a) Types of services offered by laboratories. In virology, there are two types of laboratories for proficiency testing purposes -
(1) Those that only perform tests that directly detect viral antigens or structures, either in cells derived from infected tissues or free in fluid specimens; and
(2) Those that are able to isolate and identify viruses and use direct antigen techniques.
(b) Program content and frequency of challenge. To be approved for proficiency testing in virology, a program must provide a minimum of five samples per testing event. There must be at least three testing events at approximately equal intervals per year. The samples may be provided to the laboratory through mailed shipments or, at HHS's option, may be provided to HHS or its designee for on-site testing. An annual program must include viral species that are the more commonly identified viruses. The specific organisms found in the samples may vary from year to year. The annual program must include samples for viral antigen detection and viral isolation and identification.
(1) An approved program must furnish HHS with a description of samples that it plans to include in its annual program no later than six months before each calendar year. The program must include other important emerging viruses (as determined by HHS) and viruses commonly occurring in patient specimens.
(2) An approved program may vary over time. For example, the types of viruses that might be included in an approved program over time are the more commonly identified viruses such as Herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus, adenoviruses, enteroviruses, and cytomegaloviruses.
(1) The program determines the reportable viruses to be detected by direct antigen techniques or isolated by laboratories that perform viral isolation procedures. To determine the accuracy of a laboratory's response, the program must compare the laboratory's response for each sample with the response that reflects agreement of either 80 percent of ten or more referee laboratories or 80 percent or more of all participating laboratories.
(2) To evaluate a laboratory's response for a particular sample, the program must determine a laboratory's type of service in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. A laboratory must isolate and identify the viruses to the same extent it performs these procedures on patient specimens.
(3) Since laboratories may incorrectly report the presence of viruses in addition to the correctly identified principal virus, the grading system must provide a means of deducting credit for additional erroneous viruses reported. Therefore, the total number of correct responses determined by virus culture techniques submitted by the laboratory divided by the number of viruses present plus the number of incorrect viruses reported by the laboratory must be multiplied by 100 to establish a score for each sample in each testing event. For example, if a sample contained one principal virus and the laboratory reported it correctly but reported the presence of an additional virus, which was not present, the sample grade would be 1/(1 + 1) × 100 = 50 percent.
(4) The performance criterion for qualitative antigen tests is presence or absence of the viral antigen. The score for the antigen tests is the number of correct responses divided by the number of samples to be tested for the antigen, multiplied by 100.