With its nucleic acid metrology project, METAS is setting out to establish the basic principles for metrologically traceable measurements of nucleic acids. The analysis of nucleic acids is a subarea of laboratory medicine with great potential for the future: measurement accuracy and comparability are of particular importance especially for biological analytes with long-term relevance. For this development and advancement work, METAS is establishing a metrological laboratory for laboratory medicine with the focus on nucleic acids.
Laboratory medicine measurements play a central role in medicine. Although performed to a very high standard of quality in Switzerland, they are not currently entirely comparable with one another. Metrologically traced measurement values could bring considerable improvements here. Important aspects are the production and distribution of laboratory medicine reference measurement methods and materials of a higher order. Here, striving for the very highest accuracy of individual measurements is not the primary objective; instead, the goal is to create added value for patients by increasing the comparability of different analysis systems and laboratories.
Based on international collaboration, reference materials should be produced for nucleic acid metrology and the necessary measurement methods developed for metrological traceability of the values. To this end, we are expanding our measurement capabilities in the area of nucleic acid detection through quantitative and digital PCR systems (PCR = polymerase chain reaction) and are working in particular on the quantitative use of new high-throughput sequencing methods.
Among other things, we are establishing and improving preparation methods for certain pathogens involved in sepsis as part of a European metrology research project (Project Septimet). Moreover, within the framework of European collaboration projects, METAS is participating in the European metrology network on Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (TraceLabMed). Its task is the joint provision of a coordinated and service-oriented European metrology infrastructure, especially in the area of in-vitro diagnostics. This European network is integrated into a worldwide collaboration within the framework of the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM) and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC).
Nucleic acid metrology is part of intensive European and global endeavours to improve the comparability, measurement accuracy and traceability of laboratory medicine measurements. It is METAS’s appropriate response to changed regulatory and scientific framework conditions in Switzerland and abroad.
With its work in the field of nucleic acid metrology, METAS is not acting either as a controller or as a diagnostics provider, but rather makes available its knowledge and experience to the players in the laboratory sector, doing so within the framework of its legal mandate and in the interest of a high-quality Swiss healthcare system. Its goal is to help shape the long-term development of nucleic acid analysis.
METAS is a dependable contact and service provider for questions concerning metrological traceability of nucleic acids
Last modification 05.10.2020