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CDC/APHL Syphilis Serum Repository

CDC’s Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) are actively collaborating to develop a Syphilis Serum Repository. The repository is composed of residual syphilis positive serum samples which were tested and submitted by U.S. state and local public health laboratories in order to facilitate research and development of syphilis diagnostic tests for use in the United States. Samples are located at CDC, and may be requested from CDC. This web page discusses the laboratory, epidemiologic, and clinical data that are available, and specifies how specimens can be accessed.

Utilization of the CDC/APHL Syphilis Serum Repository

Specimen are to be used solely for the development or evaluation of new syphilis diagnostic assays that are to be used in the United States, and/or seek FDA approval in the United States.

Specifications of the Syphilis Serum Repository

If available, CDC will provide a maximum of 150 specimens per request.

The request may include any of the following categories:

  • primary syphilis treated,
  • primary syphilis untreated,
  • secondary syphilis treated,
  • secondary syphilis untreated,
  • latent syphilis treated,
  • latent syphilis untreated, and
  • specimens reported as serofast.

These will be from archived specimens with known freeze/thaw cycles. All specimen staging is based on information provided by clinicians or other sample submitters to public health laboratories. Treated/untreated samples are not necessarily matched (i.e., from the same patient before/after treatment). Treated samples may include samples collected up to several weeks after treatment.

Samples will be given out until depleted on a first come, first served basis.

The CDC DSTDP LRRB will assign a unique CDC specimen identifier (CSID) to each specimen. Users are encouraged to refer to specimens by the CSID when requests are being made. LRRB will keep records as to the disposition of every aliquot. LRRB will also manage and share clinical data associated with each CSID.

Interested parties may request samples repeatedly for testing of sequentially optimized tests, but not more often than once/year or more than 150 specimen per year. There are no guarantees that previously obtained samples (same CSID) will be available.

Process to Request Specimens

  • Interested parties will need to submit a proposal that includes the required elements listed in the Components of Research Description table below. Proposals should be sent via this form. DSTDP’s Laboratory Reference and Research Branch (LRRB) quality management office will evaluate all proposals for public health significance and scientific merit.
  • If the proposal is approved, a PDF list of currently available specimens will then be sent to the requestor so that preferred specimens can be selected.
  • Requestor must submit an official letter of request for the specimens of interest.
  • CDC will prepare a contract of agreement to be sent to the requestor. CDC will assess a usage fee of $60 per specimen to recover the costs of obtaining, storing and handling the specimens. CDC will include a request for fees when the official contract of agreement is sent to the requestor. Payment is required before specimens can be shipped.

Please note: Shipping specimens outside of the United States is not available for this activity.

Components of Research Description

  1. Background & objective
  2. Public health importance
  3. A statement that your institution has a biosafety office and that your facility can safely work with blood borne pathogens
  4. How the results will be used
  5. A list of specific specimen categories requested (The list of available specimens with accompanying CSID numbers will be provided after proposal has been approved.)
  6. The requestor’s current association/affiliation and complete contact information

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