Episode 01/
Focusing on the finer points of the SARS-CoV-2 testing workflow: false positives and false negatives

17 December, 2020 / Understanding misleading COVID-19 test results

Like any diagnostic test, SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostic assays are affected by the appearance of false positives and false negative results. In this episode, we speak with qPCR assay, workflow, and measurement experts Jim Huggett, Tania Nolan, and James Grayson about the causes of false positives and false negatives and how to mitigate these misleading events. Along the way we also touch on limits-of-detection, the role of workflow software in supporting the production of reliable results, and important aspects of the qPCR assay that clinicians and assay developers should keep in mind.

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Our Guests

Tania Nolan
Tania Nolan, PhD, has an international reputation for expertise in the field of mRNA quantification using RT-qPCR. Tania is a consultant to leading life science companies, including LGC, Biosearch Technologies. She has an active publication record and regularly contributes to the scientific literature, most recently contributing to the SARS-Co2 detection literature. Tania gained a PhD in genetics from Manchester University. She took up an AstraZeneca Research Fellowship before moving to Stratagene to support the launch of their qPCR programme. Tania led the Sigma Aldrich Custom Products technical and application support team and was awarded an Honorary Senior Lecturer position at Manchester University in 2014.

James Grayson
James Grayson is a scientist and automation engineer with more than 10 years experience in laboratory workflow automation. James joined UgenTec in August 2019 as the Technical and Applications lead for the Americas and Australia helping to support customers and grow the UgenTec team and business in new markets. Prior to joining UgenTec, James was the Head of Molecular Workflow Automation at Siemens Healthineers, working to capture Voice of Customer Workflow needs and develop customized solutions.

Jim Huggett
Jim Huggett, PhD, read genetics in Liverpool University followed by a PhD in molecular biology in Cardiff University. Particularly interested in advanced molecular methods he moved to University College London in 2002 to investigate molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases. In 2009, he joined the National Measurement Laboratory (NML) at LGC, the UK’s designated national measurement institute for chemical and bio-analytical measurement. He leads a team focused on molecular diagnostics, genomics and nucleic acid measurement. In 2016 Dr Huggett joined the University of Surrey as a Senior Lecturer in Analytical Microbiology and holds a joint appointment with the NML.
Meet our host
Pia Abola, PhD
Pia Abola, PhD, has spent the past ten years providing content marketing for life science companies. Before becoming a marketer she used protein biochemistry and molecular biology to study site-specific recombination, plant-bacteria symbiosis, and signal transduction. She also worked on the human genome sequencing project and and at an anti-viral drug discovery company.
Next episode
Insights from an academic clinical research assay developer

22 January, 2021 / Analysis of numerous factors of COVID-19 testing, including test development and tests for different sample types

The sudden onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic forced many academic research labs to pivot to diagnostic testing. In this episode, we speak with Priya Banada, an Assistant Professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, about her experiences pivoting from developing clinical research assays to running diagnostic assays, with added insights from a software vendor’s point-of-view from James Grayson. We also cover the pros and cons of different sample types, viral load, and how more clinicians should be asking to see Ct values.

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