Neisseria gonorrhoeae, causative agent of gonorrhea, is the second most commonly reported notifiable disease in the United States with over half a million cases reported per year. Up to 30% of new infections are reported as resistant to at least one drug currently or previously recommended for treatment.

One of the aspects of preparing for potential new treatment regimens is ensuring that the diagnostic tools to assess antibiotic susceptibility are in place. This funding announcement is designed to identify laboratories to participate in a multi-site study to determine the acceptable variability of gentamicin MIC by agar dilution using N. gonorrhoeae QC strains leading to a proposed gentamicin QC range for N. gonorrhoeae based on CLSI M23 guidelines. Please note this is a one-time funding opportunity.


APHL is looking for nine eligible laboratories, including all member public health, hospital, and academic laboratories with the following capabilities and facilities in place. Specific expectations regarding methodologies to be used by the awardees are outlined in Appendix A: Establishing a Quality Control Range for Gentamicin Susceptibility Testing of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. All applicants are required to agree to the minimum requirements (as outlined in Appendix B) for the option they are applying for. Applicants may apply for Option 1, Option 2, or both.                

Option 1: Provide gentamicin MIC ranges determined by agar dilution for N. gonorrhoeae QC strains

[Nine laboratories requested]

  • Applicants must perform agar dilution for ten replicates of each of the three N. gonorrhoeae QC strains on three lots of media containing gentamicin;

  • Applicants must perform agar dilution for ten replicates of each of the three N. gonorrhoeae QC strains (using the same prepared inoculum) using 1 lot of media containing spectinomycin (control antimicrobial)

  • The applicant must be well equipped and with sufficient laboratory space, equipment and workforce capacity for the proposed work
    Note: Access to a CMI-Promex Steer's Replicator is preferred; CDC can loan appropriate model

  • Applicants must conduct testing and provide all data to APHL and CDC prior to the end of the project period.

Option 2: Prepare and distribute antibiotic plates used for agar dilution

[Two laboratories requested]

  • Applicants must prepare GC II base plates with 1% Isovitelex containing gentamicin or spectinomycin according to CLSI M07 guideline.
    Note: CDC will provide all antibiotics and GC II base powder.

  • Applicants must QC the antibiotic plates and send results to CDC for analysis.
    Note: CDC will provide the QC isolates required for QC procedure.

  • Applicants must ship all antibiotic plates overnight to their assigned laboratories within one week of passing QC.

  • The applicant must be well equipped and with sufficient laboratory space, equipment and workforce capacity for the proposed work.

  • Applicants must agree to conduct testing and provide all data to APHL/CDC prior to the end of project period.

Anticipated RFP Schedule

  • April 18, 2019      –  RFP Issued

  • April 29, 2019      –  Informational Teleconference (Q&A)      

  • May 3, 2019        –  Letter of Intent Due to APHL (see below)

  • May 31, 2019      –  RFP Responses Due

  • June 14, 2019       –  Proposal review completed

  • June 14-17, 2019  – If needed, follow-up interviews and updated proposals due

  • June 18, 2019       –  Final review completed and awardees selected

  • August 1, 2019     –  Draft contracts submitted to APHL Legal Dept. for final internal review

APHL will communicate any modification to this anticipated schedule on APHL's procurement website and via an email blast to the public health laboratories.

Response Submittal

Confirmation of Intent to Respond

Prospective applicants must submit a letter of intent to submit a proposal via email to Anne.Gaynor@aphl.org. APHL must receive the email indicating intent by no later than 5:00 pm ET on May 3, 2019. APHL will not accept a proposal from an applicant that did not submit a letter of intent.

Final Response

APHL must receive complete responses by 5:00 pm ET on May 31, 2019. Please see referd to Proposal-Required Submissions section on the official PDF linked below, for items that must be included in the completed proposal. Applicants may send proposals via email to Anne.Gaynor@aphl.org.

APHL will send an email acknowledging the receipt of your application; if you do not receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours, please email the RFP points of contact above to confirm receipt.


The Official RFP Document will provide detailed information in regards to this request, please read it on its entirety. Feel free to contact Anne Gaynor, Manager of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB (Anne.Gaynor@aphl.org) with any questions.

Questions and Asnwers

General Questions

When does the project start? On the informational call you stated that the project would start on August 1, 2019 but in the RFP it states September 1, 2019.

What is the second antibiotic that is being tested?

What is the anticipated shelf-life for the agar dilution plates?

What Isolates will be tested during this evaluation? Will they be provided?

My laboratory doesn’t have a Steers Replicator-- How long does it take to order one? Who do they need to contact about borrowing one?

Option 2 Questions

Do the Option 2 laboratories need to make all of the plates for a single lot of media in one day?

Can CDC provide detailed SOPs for laboratories applying for Option 2 prior to the May 31st deadline?

Is there a particular method or way the plates should be labeled? Can an adhesive label on the lid of the plate be used?

Currently, the most plates we make at a time is 12 sets equaling approximately 124 plates. How do you recommend we make 25 sets of 200 plates within the timeframe of an hour due to the degradation of the antibiotics once made?

For this volume, how does the antibiotics and added ingredients stay in suspension without having pockets with and without these added ingredients?

In the directions it says to dispense 20 mL per plate instead of 25 mL per plate, is that a change from agar dilution plates presently made?

Are the shipping containers supplied? If not, what specifications do you have for the containers? How do you want the plates packaged for shipping? In bags or the original plate sleeves?

Should ice packs or dry ice used to maintain the 4oC temperature for shipping?

To document the inoculum for each QC strain each day of testing, will we use a set volume to inoculate a plate to obtain counts?