New Addition To The Sentinel Level Clinical Laboratory Protocols For Suspected Biological Threat Agents And Emerging Infectious Diseases

Oct. 15, 2018

In coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), ASM developed protocols designed to offer Laboratory Response Network (LRN) Sentinel Level Clinical Laboratories standardized, practical methods and techniques to rule out microorganisms suspected as agents of bioterrorism, or to refer specimens to public health laboratories for confirmation. The tests and phenotypic characteristics described for each organism are conventional manual tests commonly performed in the laboratory.

Sentinel Level Clinical Laboratory Guidelines for Suspected Agents of Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Diseases

Initially, these protocols were edited by James Snyder, former member of the ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board Committee on Laboratory Practices and ASM Representative to the APHL Working Group for Response to Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Diseases.  In 2016, Steven Mahlen assumed LRN duties on behalf of ASM, replacing Dr. Snyder on both committees.  An update of the protocols began in 2013, and culminates with the publication of the new Biosafety document.   

The biosafety document was authored by Ryan Relich and Steven Mahlen, both Laboratory Practices subcommittee members, and Blake Buchan.  This protocol differs from most of the other documents in that, instead of being devoted to a particular organism, this one focuses on laboratory biosafety and biosecurity. This comprehensive protocol covers all aspects of sentinel laboratory biosafety, biosecurity, risk assessment, and biomedical waste management.

A Sentinel Clinical Laboratory is formally defined as a laboratory that is “certified to perform high-complexity testing under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the applicable Microbiology specialty or the laboratory is a Department of Defense (DoD) Laboratory certified under the DoD Clinical Laboratory Improvement Program.”  Laboratories that are fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) can also be defined as Sentinel Laboratories. The LRN is a national network of about 130 laboratories. 

Want more #ASMClinMicro news delivered to your inbox?

Register for the CPHM Newsletter

The Clinical and Public Health Microbiology Newsletter is a biweekly newsletter sent to ASM members (not a member? CLICK HERE TO JOIN). It requires a subscription, free with membership, which you can adjust HERE (make sure you look under the "Newsletters" tab). The CPHM Newsletter provides updates on ASM's clinical and public health microbiology products and services, as well as advocacy updates. It's a great way to keep abreast of all that is going on at ASM!