Virology Quality Assurance Program

The Virology Quality Assurance Program, or VQA, is a contract of NIAID/NIH and is designed to provide virology quality assurance/quality control to NIH-supported laboratories conducting virologic assays on patient samples for clinical trials. The specific aims are to improve the scientific integrity of data generated by these collaborative studies with the use of innovative and state-of-the-art technology.

Our work

There are four main areas for which the VQA lab has responsibilities: 

  1. Quality control: techniques and procedures that monitor performance standards. This is achieved by the production and distribution of standardized reagents used in all virologic assays and by supplying appropriate blinded proficiency panels used in certification testing. 
  2. Quality assurance: standardization of virologic assays, the use of common reagents, the standardization of routine laboratory procedures and evaluation of overall  laboratory performance. 
  3. Quality assessment: distribution of blinded proficiency panels to participating client laboratories to assess that each laboratory’s ability to perform an assay  according to established guidelines.
  4. Assay development
    • Formulation, development or validation (beta testing) of new commercial or in-house virologic assays within the VQA lab
    • Participation as a test site for assays developed elsewhere
    • Furnishing blinded specimen panels to laboratories developing new testing regimens or new assays


The original NIH five-year contract was awarded to Rush in 1993.  Additional seven-year renewals were awarded by NIH/NIAID in 1998, 2005 and 2012.

Our team


Key personnel

  • Aleksandra Danilovic, research assistant 1
  • Wanda Girjatowicz, research tech 3
  • Austin Hodges, research tech 3
  • Cheryl Jennings, BS, project manager
  • Marcellus Johnson, research tech 3
  • Minerva Kinser, administrative assistant
  • Nina Reiser, research tech 3
  • Salvatore Scianna, BS, laboratory supervisor
  • Jakob Stricker, research tech 3
  • Alyss Wilkey, research tech 3

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