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Transfus Med Hemother. 2015 Jul;42(4):211-8. doi: 10.1159/000435872. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Standardization of NAT for Blood-Borne Pathogens.

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Department of Virology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany.
Department of Virology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany ; World Health Organization, Essential Medicines and Health Products Department, Geneva, Switzerland.


Assays based on nucleic acid amplification technology (NAT) are increasingly used for screening of blood and for diagnosis or monitoring of patients. Both regulatory requirements for blood screening and international recommendations for the treatment of patients are based on common reference materials available globally for the standardization of NAT assays. World Health Organization International Standards (WHO ISs) and International Reference Panels (WHO IRPs) are primary reference materials. The characterization and manufacture of WHO reference materials as well as their evaluation is performed on behalf of the WHO by collaborating centers; their establishment is decided upon by the WHO Expert Committee on Biological Standardization (ECBS). The potency of the first WHO IS is defined by the 'international unit' (IU) which should be maintained upon replacement of the IS. The IU, unlike copy number or genome equivalent, is defined by the IS with a physical existence, is available worldwide, and allows traceability and comparability of results. The anticipated use of WHO ISs is the calibration of secondary standards or the validation of essential assay features, e.g. limit of detection.


IVD; International unit; NAT; Standardization; WHO standards

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