New control material developed by Commission scientists to help prevent coronavirus test failures

European Commission scientists claim to have designed new control material that laboratories can use to check the correct functioning of their coronavirus tests and to avoid false negatives.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Research and Innovation, responsible for the Joint Research Centre (JRC), said: “This is EU science in action when it is needed & where it is needed, to support the EU’s response to the current crisis.

The JRC quickly identified a potential gap in the management of the coronavirus outbreak and immediately set to work to fill that gap. The new control material has the potential to improve the EU’s capacity to respond to the virus outbreak and avoid valuable resources being wasted by inefficient tests.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Quick and reliable laboratory testing is fundamental to our strategy against coronavirus.

"The work of EU scientists to develop test control material will enable the verification of up to 60 million laboratory tests throughout the EU. This is a major achievement by our researchers, which will be crucial for our exit strategy when the time comes to start lifting social distancing measures.”

A recent survey identified the lack of positive control materials as one of the top three challenges faced by laboratories for the reliable implementation of coronavirus tests. A positive control material guarantees that laboratory tests are working correctly. It helps to avoid that a test could give a negative result if the person is positive.

The JRC-designed control material is a synthetic, non-infectious part of the virus.

Image: European Commission

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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