provide valuable insight into technical problems and their solutions and would ensure a greater confidence in interpreting data from the autonomous detector by the responsible laboratory director, or designee.

In conclusion, the evaluation and adoption of a new technology to improve and automate the BioWatch network will be supported if the technology’s performance characteristics are equal to or better than those of the existing Gen-2 laboratory-based operation. The public health laboratory must be provided with sufficient data to be familiar with the instrument’s performance, including its limitations, in order to instill trust and confidence in the quality of the data. This is critical to ensure technical competence and expertise in interpreting the results of an autonomous detector BAR for public health officials and other key stakeholders involved in response actions.


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IOM (Institute of Medicine) and NRC (National Research Council). 2011. BioWatch and public health surveillance: Evaluating systems for the early detection of biological threats. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Sapsford, K. E., C. Bradburne, J. B. Delehanty, and I. L. Medintz. 2008. Sensors for detecting biological agents. Materials Today 11(3):38–49.

van Belkum, A., M. Welker, M. Erhard, and S. Chatellier. 2012. Biomedical mass spectrometry in today’s and tomorrow’s clinical microbiology laboratories. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 50(5):1513–1517.

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