7 February 2020

A message to pathology service providers from the Deputy Director of the National Infection Service (NIS) at Public Health England regarding the national response to the emergence and international spread of 2019-nCoV coronavirus.

'PHE’s Virus reference department (VRD) is utilising a validated assay (https://doi.org/10.2807/15607917.ES.2020.25.3.2000045) and is presently deploying this to other laboratories across the PHE network and devolved administrations, to enhance capacity.

We have received considerable correspondence from stakeholders regards support for diagnostic assay implementation and the utility of commercial kits. As access to suitable positive control materials is limited, our reference laboratories in Colindale will be proactively conducting independent technical validations of commercially available assays.

The data from these evaluations with known control materials will be provided upon request to pathology service providers seeking to locally implement commercial solutions. To guide the development of resources we request your response regarding the protocols and platforms you currently deploy for respiratory virus detection as this will help understand the diversity of kits and platforms in the NHS. Please could you respond to labvalidation.cov@phe.gov.uk with this information.'

  • Professor Neil Woodford BSc PhD FRCPath (HCPC CS 02507) Deputy Director NIS Laboratories
  • Professor Maria Zambon BSc BMBCh PhD FRCPath FMedSci Consultant Virologist GMC 3338850