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Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.10.096. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

International collaborative proficiency study of Human Papillomavirus type 16 serology.

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WHO HPV LabNet Global Reference Laboratory, Department of Clinical and Medical Microbiology, Skåne and Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.


We performed an international proficiency study of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 serology. A common methodology for serology based on virus-like particle (VLP) ELISA was used by 10 laboratories in 6 continents. The laboratories used the same VLP reference reagent, which was selected as the most stable, sensitive and specific VLP preparation out of VLPs donated from 5 different sources. A blinded proficiency panel consisting of 52 serum samples from women with PCR-verified HPV 16-infection, 11 control serum samples from virginal women and the WHO HPV 16 International Standard (IS) serum were distributed. The mean plus 3 standard deviations of the negative control serum samples was the most generally useful "cut-off" criterion for distinguishing positive and negative samples. Using sensitivity of at least 50% and a specificity of 100% as proficiency criteria, 6/10 laboratories were proficient. In conclusion, an international Standard Operating Procedure for HPV serology, an international reporting system in International Units (IU) and a common "cut-off" criterion have been evaluated in an international HPV serology proficiency study.

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