Introductory Comments on Microbiologic Testing of Laboratory Mice and Rats: Uniformity of Results
Anton M. Allen
Retired, National Institutes of Health and Microbiological Associates, Inc., Bethesda, MD
Although the search for ways to improve the uniformity and correctness of test results produced by animal testing laboratories worldwide would appear to be a relatively simple aim, it involves difficult issues because laboratories around the world are managed differently. For example, such laboratories use a variety of tests for a given agent, a multiplicity of testing reagents of varying quality, and many types of equipment; and they have personnel with very different levels of training and expertise. These variables are not likely to be eliminated in the near future because of differences in resources among countries, cultural nuances, resistance to change, and so forth. However, we can still strive for more uniformity of testing even if the efforts must begin focally and spread to other areas at a later time.
Initiatives of this type are no doubt occurring in a number of countries. In the United States, a few efforts have been made but have not been carried very far. The more formal approaches that come to mind include the program that Dr. Dennis Stark began at Rockefeller University, where multiple laboratories are invited to test a single sample and then compare results. Another approach was the development of 25 “monospecific” reference antibody reagents for use in helping to standardize antibody tests for infectious agents of mice and rats. Production of the reagents was accomplished by the combined efforts of the American Committee on Laboratory Animal Diseases (ACLAD) and Microbiological Associates (now BioReliance Corp).
Our speakers are eminently qualified to discuss this subject and give their perspectives.