A lack of comparative data across laboratories is often a barrier to the uptake and adoption of new technologies. Furthermore, data generated by different immunoassay methods may be incomparable due to a lack of harmonization. In this multicenter study, we describe validation experiments conducted in a single lab and cross-lab comparisons of assay results to assess the performance characteristics of the Q-plex™ 7-plex Human Micronutrient Array (7-plex), an immunoassay that simultaneously quantifies seven biomarkers associated with micronutrient (MN) deficiencies, inflammation and malarial antigenemia using plasma or serum; alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, C-reactive protein, ferritin, histidine-rich protein 2, retinol binding protein 4, soluble transferrin receptor, and thyroglobulin. Validations included repeated testing (n = 20 separately prepared experiments on 10 assay plates) in a single lab to assess precision and linearity. Seven independent laboratories tested 76 identical heparin plasma samples collected from a cohort of pregnant women in Niger using the same 7-plex assay to assess differences in results across laboratories. In the analytical validation experiments, intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation were acceptable at <6% and <15% respectively and assay linearity was 96% to 99% with the exception of ferritin, which had marginal performance in some tests. Cross-laboratory comparisons showed generally good agreement between laboratories in all analyte results for the panel of 76 plasma specimens, with Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient values averaging 0.8 for all analytes. Excluding plates that would fail routine quality control (QC) standards, the inter-assay variation was acceptable for all analytes except sTfR, which had an average inter-assay coefficient of variation of 20%. This initial cross-laboratory study demonstrates that the 7-plex test protocol can be implemented by users with some experience in immunoassay methods, but familiarity with the multiplexed protocol was not essential.
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