Quality Assurance For Pneumococcal Assays in Europe

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The European Primary Immunodeficiencies (PIDs) Consensus Conference in Langen (2006) outlined the need for quality assurance for assays to measure specific antibodies to common pathogens and immunization antigens. In order to make a diagnosis of primary antibody failure, it is important to show that a patient is unable to make antibodies to pathogens; this may be demonstrated using either common exposure antigens or those used for immunization. Streptococcus pneumoniae, a common gram positive bacterium, is one such pathogen that is estimated by the WHO to be responsible for over one million acute deaths worldwide. This includes patients with primary immune deficiencies, who are particularly susceptible to infections caused by encapsulated bacteria.