Ielab: first accredited by ENAC for SARS-CoV-2 proficiency testing exercises in wastewater
The European Commission, in its Recommendation (EU) 2021/472, urges member states to establish systematic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in EU wastewater as a complementary tool for data collection and management of the COVID pandemic. It also provides that in order to ensure that sampling and analysis methods are comparable and reliable, Member States must make sure that laboratories participate in appropriate proficiency tests set up by accredited suppliers.
In this context, ENAC has accredited the first proficiency testing provider for detecting and quantifying SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater: the Alicante company Ielab.
Proficiency testing exercises are a tool for laboratories to improve the quality of their services, by influencing the basic aspects of their technical performance and providing an independent assessment of laboratory data compared to reference values. However, for a proficiency testing exercise to provide its full potential for control and improvement, it is essential that it be carried out with the appropriate level of technical competence and in accordance with internationally accepted standards. Something that only accredited services, such as those provided by Ielab, can guarantee.
This is highlighted by the Director of Production of Ielab, Estíbaliz Sastre González, who said that "the fact of choosing a supplier accredited by ENAC assures the participating laboratory that the entire process of managing the exercise (preparing the items, ensuring the sample's homogeneity and stability, using and interpreting the results and issuing the report) has been carried out with the necessary level of technical competence”.
He also stresses that opting for an accredited supplier "makes the work of laboratories much easier, as they do not have to assess their suppliers because they can rely on the external and independent assessment carried out by the accreditation bodies. This assessment enables the supplier to demonstrate to customers and public bodies that they have maintained technical competence and the laboratory results are valid”.
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