QASI-EID (Quality Assessment and Standardization of Indicators Relevant to HIV/AIDS – Early Infant Diagnosis)

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Details

Pathogen:
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Laboratory:
National Laboratory for HIV Immunology
Phone:
(204) 789-6479
Fax:
(204) 318-2221
Email:
Frequency:
Bi-annual
Description:

QASI, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s International Program for Quality Assessment and Standardization of Indicators relevant to HIV/AIDS is located at the National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratories in Winnipeg, Canada. QASI provides EQA through administration of proficiency testing (PT) panels and comprehensive corrective and preventative action as required in English, French and Spanish. There are three PT programs currently available; QASI-LI (Leukocyte Immunophenotyping), QASI-EID (Early-Infant Diagnosis) and QASI-VL (Viral Load).

QASI-EID was launched in 2017 with the mandate to provide EQA specifically to point-of-care (POC) testing sites performing HIV diagnosis on infants born to HIV-positive mothers in resource-limited countries with a high burden of pediatric HIV. This is a qualitative test capable of detecting HIV nucleic acids in an infant’s heel or finger prick. Early and accurate HIV diagnosis can increase an infant’s chances of survival by 75%.

The program is designed to work through in-country Coordinators, who re-distribute panels, collect results, and enter those results on behalf of Participants into the QASI online database. Documentation is provided to assist both Coordinators and Participants with this process. QASI provides feedback in the form of individual Performance Reports for each POC testing site, and a comprehensive Assessment Report for Coordinators, which details overall performance, non-conformances, and recommended corrective actions as required. The ultimate goal is to assist a Coordinator in developing and launching a national EQA program for POC HIV EID in their own country.

Frequency of distribution: QASI-EID operates on a bi-annual testing scheme, providing 3 specimens per session, and currently services both Cepheid GeneXpert and m-PIMA (formerly Alere q)  testing technologies. In order to replicate POC testing conditions, our EID proficiency testing panels consist of fresh whole blood spiked with heat-inactivated HIV cell culture. Panels represent a range of HIV blood titres in order to test the participant’s proficiency, and the POC instrument’s reliability, for qualitatively detecting HIV RNA.

Scope:

To ensure accurate and reliable point-of-care testing for early-infant diagnosis of HIV through the provision of proficiency testing panels, external quality oversight and comprehensive corrective and preventative action recommendations in countries where EQA services are limited or unavailable.

Fees:

There is no fee to enrol or participate in the QASI-EID program.

Eligibility criteria for participation:

Eligible participants are those sites actively performing tests for early-infant diagnosis using either the Cepheid GeneXpert or m-PIMA (formerly Alere q) technologies.

Confidentiality arrangements:

Confidentiality of testing results and performance is maintained using a password protected online database and numerical laboratory IDs to distinguish testing sites.

How to apply:

Please contact qasi@canada.ca to apply for any of our EQA programs.