Roche launches detection kit for influenza A/H1N1

MAY 15, 2009--Roche Applied Science (Basel, Switzerland) reports that its new detection kit, for the Influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) virus "was evaluated with virus positive sample materials and selectively identifies the new Influenza A H1N1 virus." The kit runs on Roche's LightCycler 480 II, 2.0, and 1.5 real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems. Roche is offering it for use in life science research, but is also filing to get approval of local health authorities worldwide for use of the kit in emergency situations.

Roche asserts that compared with other detection kits, the newly released product features advantages in regard to efficiency and handling. "The design of the new detection kits benefited very much from information we got out of our manifold research cooperations," said Manfred Baier, Head of Roche Applied Science.

Earlier this month, Roche cooperation partner TIB MOLBIOL (Berlin, Germany) announced development of a test (called LightMix) for the new variant of the Influenza A H1N1 virus, to be launched initially in Europe and Asia. This test is optimized for Roche LightCycler 480 II, 2.0, and 1.2 systems and selectively identifies the new Influenza A H1N1 virus.

Roche Applied Science offers a variety of platforms that can be used to help identify the Influenza A H1N1 virus, including nucleic acid purification, real-time PCR, microarrays and sequencing systems. The company is in close contact with various research institutions and test centers worldwide providing assistance in the detection and characterization of Influenza A H1N1 virus.

Currently, no human vaccine protects against Influenza A H1N1 infection. Standard therapy for the disease includes treatment with antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, made by Roche. This week Roche said it is donating 5.65 million packs of Tamiflu to the World Health Organization and that it is ramping up production of the drug.

Roche calls itself the world's largest biotech company. For more information on Roche and its products see the Roche website. For more information on Influenza A H1N1 please visit the World Health Organization site.

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

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