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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2012;50(9):1565-71. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2011-0943.

Improvement in the performance of external quality assessment in Korean HIV clinical laboratories using unrecalcified human plasma.

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Division of AIDS, Center for Immunology and Pathology, Korea National Institute of Health, Osong Health Technology Administration Complex, Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea.



The external quality assessment schemes (EQAS) organizer provides a suitable program to monitor and improve the quality of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing laboratories with EQAS panels prepared under various conditions. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of human plasma samples on the EQAS results of HIV obtained from hospital-based clinical laboratories.


From 2007 to 2009, HIV EQAS panels consisted of four to six samples that consisted of undiluted positive and negative samples and were provided to laboratories twice per year. Up until the first half EQAS in 2008, EQAS panel materials were obtained by converting acid citrate dextrose treated plasma to serum via chemical treatment with CaCl2. Beginning with the second EQAS in 2008, all materials were prepared without the defibrination process.


Approximately 300 HIV clinical laboratories participated in this program. The overall performance of clinical laboratories was shown to be improved when using unrecalcified plasma panels compared with recalcified panels. Significant differences were observed in EIA analyses of plasma for both positive (p<0.001) and negative (p<0.001) samples between the recalcified and unrecalcified groups.


Our finding suggested that defibrination status of EQAS panels might affect the results of anti-HIV EQAS of Korean HIV testing laboratories.

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