The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), in cooperation with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Influenza Division (ID), is seeking to identify three (3) state or local public health laboratories (PHLs) to serve as National Influenza reference centers (NIRCs) in support of national influenza surveillance initiatives. The reference centers will serve as an extension of the CDC ID Virology Surveillance and Diagnosis Branch (VSDB) and will provide services that are complementary to those at CDC based on methods and protocols provided by APHL and CDC. Services provided by the reference centers will include: 1) influenza virus isolation and propagation; 2) antiviral resistance testing; and 3) genomic sequencing using next generation sequencing (NGS).

Anticipated RFP Schedule

August 19, 2019 – RFP Issued
September 5, 2019 – Informational teleconference (optional)
September 9, 2019 – Letter of Intent Due to APHL (see below)
September 30, 2019 – RFP Responses Due
October 7, 2019 – Proposal review completed
October 14, 2019 – As needed, follow-up interviews/proposals due
October 15, 2019 – Final review completed and awardees selected
Spring 2020 – Training activities, as needed
2020 – 2021 Influenza Season – First year contract awarded

Response Submittal

Confirmation of Intent to Respond

APHL requires that prospective applicants submit a brief email statement indicating an intent to submit a proposal. APHL must receive this email by no later than 5:00 pm EST on Monday, September 9, 2019. To allow for appropriate review process planning, a letter of intent is required for consideration.

Final Response

APHL must receive complete responses by 5:00 pm EST on Monday, September 30, 2019. Please see Proposal-Required Submissions section of the RFP for items that must be included in the completed proposal.  Applicants may send proposals via email to

APHL will send an email acknowledging the receipt of your application; if you do not receive an acknowledgement within 2 business days, please email the RFP point of contact above to confirm receipt.

Additional Information

Applicants must direct all questions to Melissa Warren ( APHL will post questions received from interested PHLs, together with the answers provided by APHL or CDC staff to APHL’s procurement website (

To allow for appropriate review process planning, a letter of intent is required for consideration. Applicants should submit letters by email to Melissa Warren at APHL ( no later than 5:00 pm EST on Monday, September 9, 2019.

Applications are due to Melissa Warren at APHL ( by close of business (5:00 pm ET) September 30, 2019. APHL will send an email acknowledging the receipt of your application.  If you do not receive an acknowledgement within two (2) business days, call 240-485-2741 to confirm receipt.

APHL will hold an optional teleconference on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm ET.  The purpose of this call will be to provide a brief overview of the project and to allow potential applicants to ask CDC and APHL questions. Please come with questions prepared.

Teleconference call-in information is below, or please contact or no later than 12:00 pm ET on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 to receive the calendar invitation.

Join Zoom Meeting
Call-in Information
+1-646-876-9923 US OR
+1-669-900-6833 US
Meeting ID 348-940-355

All CDC protocols for the NIRC methodologies will be available to applicants who have submitted a letter of intent to apply.


The National Influenza Reference Center RFP will provide detailed information in regards to this request, please read it in its entirety. Additionally, feel free to contact Melissa Warren at with any questions.

Questions and Answers

What is the difference between requirements number 3 and number 6 in the background section of the RFP?

Is there an expected “go live” date for the selected laboratories or is that negotiable?

Is reimbursement money provided to PHL after testing or could some or all be fronted before testing begins?

Is the CDC ready to offer the MDCK cell lines or would labs get them from ATCC or other vendors? If so, would they be available before selections are made?

Any use of electronic ordering mechanism for submitting to reference centers?

Is there a preference between the QIAxcel and the Agilent Tape Station?

Is this RFP a recomepete of the current reference centers or an expansion to additional sites?

Do you have MS Word versions of the response table in Appendix C?

Please define BSC in the question 4 table in Appendix C.

What is the URL for the Contract Laboratory Accessioning Webtool (CLAW)?

What are the technical specifications for Clarity LIMS and Tableau Online?

How is the data electronically transmitted? What is the size of the transmission?

Can you provide more clarification on the requirement for a tabletop port label printer certificates to be installed on the local computer’s certificate store?