On June 10, 2020 Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab), based in Clearwater, Florida, expanded their scope of accreditation to cover environmental testing for SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19, and the test developed by EDLab is designed to determine virus presence and persistence on hard surfaces. This is particularly applicable to doors, tables, elevator buttons, and other frequently touched surfaces that have the potential to transmit coronavirus in shared spaces. EDLab was among the first A2LA-accredited laboratories to become accredited for this type of testing, which is an important part of the effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate risks associated with using shared spaces.
The test developed by EDLab allows users to swab surfaces of concern and return the swabs to EDLab for analysis. The samples are tested using a RT-qPCR (Reverse Transcription Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction) procedure, which produces results in as little as a few hours. Surface testing for SARS-CoV-2 helps individual organizations understand if coronavirus is present and how it may be spreading in their facility, as well as contributing to an increased understanding of the risk of coronavirus transmission through surface contact.
Over the last several months, A2LA has responded to many requests for accreditation of processes and tests related to COVID-19 in a variety of industries, from the production of personal protective equipment to proficiency testing schemes to tests such as the one produced by EDLab to detect the virus itself. Thanks to a thorough remote assessment process developed in response to limits on travel and in-person contact, A2LA has been able to provide vital third-party accreditation services to these industries. Accreditation helps to ensure that their products and processes adhere to internationally accepted quality standards. Accreditation by A2LA provides confidence that the results produced by EDLab’s SARS-CoV-2 surface testing are reliable, bolstering the diligent scientific work done by EDLab with impartial assurance that their processes are sound, and their results are reproducible.