10th Meeting of the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance
Ljubljana (SI), 2020-02-18/20
The Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance was hosted in Ljubljana (SI), at the kind invitation of the National Institute of Biology (NIB). The EPPO Secretariat was pleased to welcome new experts from Italy and Lithuania. The Panel revised several horizontal Diagnostic Standards.
The Panel had the chance to participate in an event organized by NIB together with the Slovenian National Assembly and Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection to celebrate the international year of plant health (IYPH 2020) and the nomination of NIB as an EU reference laboratories (EURL) in the field of bacteriology and viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas.
Revision of three horizontal Standards
The main objective of the meeting was to prepare revisions of three horizontal Standards:
PM 7/84 Basic requirements for quality management in plant pest diagnosis laboratories
A fourth revision of the EPPO Standard PM 7/98 Specific requirements for laboratories preparing accreditation for a plant pest diagnostic activity was adopted in 2019. When preparing the revision of this Standard, the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance recommended that it should become a standalone Standard. Therefore, the relevant sections of PM 7/84 (2) Basic requirements for quality management in plant pest diagnosis laboratories were copied into PM 7/98 (4) and modified whenever relevant. The Panel discussed the alignment of the text of PM 7/84 (2) to the newly adopted PM 7/98(4) to ensure consistency of the two standards.
PM 7/98 Specific requirements for laboratories preparing accreditation for a plant pest diagnostic activity
The EPPO Secretariat considered that there was a need to review Appendix 5 in PM 7/98 (4) to ensure consistency in the guidance provided for the different fields, and to align the terminology, whenever applicable. To achieve this goal, a document comparing the guidance for the validation process for the same methods in the different fields was prepared; this document was reviewed and revised by the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance.
The revised document comparing the guidance will be sent for country consultation in 2020.
PM7/129 DNA barcoding as an identification tool for a number of regulated pests
The Panel discussed the revision of PM 7/129 to include new tests for arthropods, bacteria (Ralstonia solanacearum species complex) and fungi (Phyllosticta citricarpa). The revised document will be sent for country consultation in 2020.
Production of reference material
Mr Van de Vlugt (WUR) presented the results from workpackage 3 of the VALITEST project on the production of reference material. This presentation was followed by a discussion with the Panel on the use of these results to draft an EPPO Standard on the production of reference material. It was decided to organize an expert working group in October 2020 to help the EPPO Secretariat with the drafting of such a Standard.
EPPO instructions to authors of diagnostic protocols
The Panel discussed several suggestions made by specific experts on controls for molecular tests. Changes were made to the sections regarding the interpretation of conventional PCR tests and of LAMP tests. In-depth revision of the instructions for authors on controls will be carried out in 2021.
Update on other activities within EPPO
An update of the following topics was presented:
- Update of the VALITEST project and impact on the activities of the Panels on Diagnostics.
- Improvement of the EPPO Database on diagnostic expertise. The Panel discussed the revision of the validation sheet listing and explaining the validation data to be filled in for the database. This sheet will be published on the EPPO Database on diagnostic expertise website.
- Release and new features of EPPO-Q-bank
Visit of the National Institute for Biology (NIB)
The Panel members had the opportunity to visit NIB.