The protocols used by Entomogen Inc. conform to (or exceed) the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s 'gold standard' for mosquito viral testing. This was established in 2003 by the National Steering Committee on West Nile Virus Surveillance, Mosquito Subcommittee - a subcommittee chaired by Dr. Robin Lindsay (National Microbiology Laboratory, Winnipeg, MB). Viral testing is done according to the National Guidelines and the protocols established by Lanciotti et al 2000. (Lanciotti, RS, Kerst, AJ., Nasci, RS., Godsey, MS., Mitchell, CJ., Savage, HM., Komar, N., Panella, NA., Allen, BC., Volpe, KE., Davis, BS., and Roehrig, JT. Rapid Detection of West Nile Virus from Human Clinical Specimens, Field-Collected Mosquitoes, and Avian Samples by a TaqMan Reverse Transcriptase-PCR assay. J. Clin Microbiol 2000; 38:4066-4071.)
The process involves three main steps: Mosquito Homogenization, RNA Extraction and Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (Real-Time RT-PCR). Each step is performed with utmost care with emphasis on aseptic techniques by trained and qualified personnel. We are the Ontario experts in WNV Real-Time RT-PCR analysis. In support of this claim, we have a paper in the peer-reviewed journal, Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, entitled West Nile Virus Infection Rates in Pooled and Individual Mosquito Samples.
Our viral testing is conducted at Dr. Hunters lab at Brock University, giving our staff access to the best equipment and a sanitary working environment to conduct their viral testing. Our senior viral tester was trained at the internationally recognized National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. We currently have three technicians on hand to process all of our West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus samples.
Dr. Hunter and her lab at Brock University have also been granted permission to study the Zika virus in Brock University’s level 3 lab. This provides Entomogen access to the most current research pertaining to Zika virus and its potential to spread to Canada.
The viral testing program is run by Dr. Michael Bidochka (Registered Microbiologist, Canadian College of Microbiologists; Professor of Biological Sciences at Brock University; Director of Biotechnology at Brock University; President of Microbanalysis Inc.). Dr. Bidochka has 27 years of experience as a microbiologist and has been certified for viral testing since 2002.
Each season, the Viral Testing Division of Entomogen performs a proficiency panel test provided by the Canadian Public Health Agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory. Passing this test is required to meet the ‘gold’ standard for mosquito viral testing, which was established by the National Steering Committee for West Nile Virus in 2003. Our proficiency panel results and interpretation have been described as ‘in perfect correlation with those at NML’. Entomogen has attained 100% specificity and sensitivity for West Nile Virus every year from 2003-2016, as well as 100% specificity and sensitivity for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus from 2010-2016.