Inexpensive optical device proves able to detect and distinguish H1N1 from other flu viruses

MAY 6, 2009--Together with the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, the biotech startup InDevR (Boulder, CO) has confirmed that the M gene version of InDevR's FluChip product can detect swine-origin H1N1 influenza A viruses, and clearly distinguish them from seasonal influenza viruses (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) as well as the deadly avian A/H5N1 virus.

The CDC provided InDevR scientists with non-infectious genetic material from swine-origin influenza viruses earlier this week. The FluChip performance was evaluated with several of these samples in a side-by-side comparison with seasonal human influenza viruses. "The FluChip assay detected all of the 6 swine-origin H1N1 viruses tested, and the resulting pattern, or signature, on the microarray was dramatically different than the signature for seasonal A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 viruses. Interestingly, the signature of the swine H1N1 virus indicated an avian component within the M-gene, which is consistent with its reported Eurasian lineage, said Dr. Erica Dawson, the Lead Scientist on the project at InDevR and co-inventor of the FluChip technology.

The FluChip is expected to be a powerful addition to the influenza surveillance toolkit since it will be less susceptible to failure than qRT-PCR assays as the virus continues to evolve. According to Rowlen, who is now CEO at InDevR, the reason that the M-gene version of the FluChip is more robust has to do with the fact that the diagnostic target is a stable, internal gene which codes for the virus' matrix proteins. Current qRT-PCR subtyping assays target a more highly mutable gene that codes for a protein, hemagglutinin (HA), which is subject to antigenic drift. "As has happened in the past, if the HA gene changes in a critical region, qRT-PCR will fail and the researcher won't know why until the gene is re-sequenced," said Rowlen.

Based on these early FluChip results and with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), InDevR will immediately begin manufacturing FluChip Kits for placement in a limited number of State Public Health labs. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will be the first site to receive FluChip assays for use as a complement to the newly released swine qRT-PCR assay. "We are excited about helping to evaluate the FluChip technology. The ability to rapidly and reliably determine whether or not an influenza virus is seasonal or extraordinary would be tremendous," said Dr. Hugh Maguire, Program Manager of Microbiology and Molecular Science at the CDPHE.

InDevR will combine the FluChip technology with an innovative detection technology (NESA), which InDevR also licensed from the University of Colorado and further developed with NIAID support, to make the FluChip assay inexpensive and easy to use in any lab that has basic PCR capabilities.

Representative results results from the study proving FluChip's H1N1 capabilities are available on InDevR's website.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

NANOTECHNOLOGY/LIGHT ACTIVATION: IR light method turns blood clotting on (like drugs) and off (like nothing else)

Gold nanoparticles, controlled by infrared (IR) light from a pulsed femtosecond laser, promise to promote wound healing and help doctors control blood clotting in patients undergoing surgery.

Microscopy helps discover potential new drug target for cystic fibrosis

An international team of scientists, using automated microscopy and genetics, have discovered a promising potential drug target for cystic fibrosis.

Next-gen DNA sequencing helps provide new genetic clue to anorexia

The largest next-generation DNA sequencing study of anorexia nervosa to date has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene coding for an enzyme that regulates cholesterol metabolism.

Synchrotron light identifies RNA double helix structure

Scientists at McGill University have crystallized a short RNA sequence, poly (rA)11, and used data collected at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron to confirm th...

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World