- Use of automatic scanners to produce proficiency test specimens to improve the precision of the measurement result (see EQAS 421).
- Extension of the method spectrum to exclude non-commutability of matrix-based EQA samples for the detection of DNA from tuberculosis bacteria (see EQAS 424)
- Introduction of the MIC value determination according to EUCAST as a comparative method for the precision of the measurement results of the phenotypic resistance determination (see EQAS 425)
- Use of whole-genome analysis as a standard in molecular resistance testing for the detection of all known mutations associated with resistance to tuberculostatics to achieve a method-specific assessment of the interlaboratory test results (see EQAS 426)
- Development of a concept for the evaluation of the commutability of the EQA samples.
The EQA schemes for external quality assurance of mycobacterial diagnostics are organized by Instand e.V. in cooperation with the National Reference Center for Mycobacteria at the Research Center Borstel and performed according to DIN ISO/IEC 17043. The proficiency tests for mycobacteria are a scientific tool for further education, training, and improvement of the participating laboratories' diagnostic competence and serve to verify and improve the commercial and in-house produced diagnostic tests (reference material).
To ensure this and to come close to clinical relevance, the proficiency test samples should be as identical as possible or at least as close as possible to clinical test materials. On the other hand, the EQA samples should also be tested with the latest technologies and methods currently available on the market and/or used by a majority of participants.