Scotia Rapid Testing helps regulators reduce costs and ensure public safety 

 

The focus of government monitoring programs is to regulate the shellfish industry and protect the health of the public by testing shellfish for biotoxins and identifying toxic phytoplankton at an early stage.  Early warnings are vital to prevent the harvest and consumption of contaminated shellfish.  This is done by observations of phytoplankton and fish kills, analyzing shellfish and evaluating the results and implementing action such as harvest site closures.

Analysis of shellfish is done by a certified lab using legislated approved methods such as Mouse Bioassay (MBA), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LCMS/MS) or Liquid Chromatography Post Column Oxidation (LC-PCOX). These analytical methods are quantitative and reliable, but also time consuming and costly especially in regions where most of the samples are free of toxins (negative). Scotia Rapid Tests (SRT) for PSP, ASP and DSP are used as highly sensitive screens to reduce the need to test all samples using the more expensive analytical methods.  This is accomplished by first testing all samples with SRT, and then only testing the positive samples with the quantitative methods.

The SRT for PSP is ISSC approved as a screening method that regulators can adopt for this purpose.  This method of incorporating SRT into government monitoring programs has been used successfully in countries such as the United States and Australia.  It has proven to be cost effective and can decrease analytical testing costs considerably (as illustrated in the charts below):

 

                                                       

 

Figure 1: Cost Analysis of 1000 samples comparing MBA alone to a hybrid approach (i.e., using SRT PSP as a frontline screen combined with MBA) 

 

Figure 1 above illustrates the program costs associated with 1000 samples based on an estimated MBA cost of $230 USD/sample (shown in the first column on the left in the diagram).  MBA cost estimates include labor costs, cost of mice, management of mice, and lab materials.  SRT costs include labor costs and cost of the PSP rapid test.   The cost of sampling with MBA alone has then been compared to three different scenarios that employ SRT rapid screening tests.  Each scenario is different and based on the percentage of positive tests found in the front line rapid screening program (i.e., percentage of screened samples that require further analytical testing).  The rate of positive results will obviously vary based on localized conditions, but in general terms substantial savings are possible using this hybrid-model of testing (i.e., irrespective of locale).

A similar analysis that compares the cost of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) alone or in combination with the SRT PSP test is shown below (see Figure 2 below).  Again, substantial savings are possible using this hybrid-model of testing (irrespective of locale).

 

                                             

Figure 2: Cost Analysis of 1000 samples comparing HPLC alone to a hybrid approach (i.e., using SRT PSP as a frontline screen combined with HPLC)

SRT rapid screening tests are also easy to use and quick to perform which makes the technology simple to adopt.  The transition to a hybrid program can therefore be straightforward to implement and easy to operationalize.

If you are involved in a government regulatory program and interested in rapid testing to ensure seafood safety, please contact us and we will be glad to follow up with you.

 

 

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