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International Bordetella pertussis assay standardization and harmonization meeting report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 19–20 July 2007


An international meeting on Bordetella pertussis assay standardization and harmonization was held at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, 19-20 July 2007. The goal of the meeting was to harmonize the immunoassays used for pertussis diagnostics and vaccine evaluation, as agreed upon by academic and government researchers, regulatory authorities, vaccine manufacturers, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The primary objectives were (1) to provide epidemiologic, laboratory, and statistical background for support of global harmonization; (2) to overview the current status of global epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunology of pertussis; (3) to develop a consensus opinion on existing gaps in understanding standardization of pertussis assays used for serodiagnosis and vaccine evaluation; and (4) to search for a multicenter process for addressing these priority gaps. Presentations and discussions by content experts addressed these objectives. A prioritized list of action items to improve standardization and harmonization of pertussis assays was identified during a group discussion at the end of the meeting. The major items included: (1) to identify a group that will organize, prepare, maintain, and distribute proficiency panels and key reagents such as reference and control sera; (2) to encourage the development and identification of one or more reference laboratories that can serve as an anchor and resource for other laboratories; (3) to define a performance-based assay method that can serve as a reference point for evaluating laboratory differences; (4) to develop guidance on quality of other reagents, e.g., pertussis toxin and other antigens, and methods to demonstrate their suitability; (5) to establish an international working group to harmonize the criteria to evaluate the results obtained on reference and proficiency panel sera; (6) to create an inventory to determine the amount of appropriate and well-characterized sera that are available globally to be used as bridging reagents for vaccine licensure; and (7) to seek specific guidance from regulatory authorities regarding the expectations and requirements for the licensure of new multicomponent pertussis vaccines.

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