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Posted: April 29, 2009

CombiMatrix Updates Influenza-Detection System For Swine Flu

(Nanowerk News) CombiMatrix Corporation announced today that it has updated its Influenza-Detection Microarray to include sequence information of the latest strain of Swine Flu. The previous version of the Influenza-Detection Microarray already detected many strains of Swine Flu as well as the pathogenic Bird Flu. Today, within one day of receiving sequence information of the new strain, CombiMatrix has updated the array to definitively identify this strain.
On Sunday, April 26, 2009, the United States declared a public health emergency because of the spread and virulence of the latest strain of Swine Flu. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Tuesday, April 28th, there were 64 confirmed cases of Swine Flu infection in the U.S. Various other countries are also reporting cases of Swine Flu infection.
For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of Swine Flu infections has been rising in Mexico and, as of April 23rd, there were more than 854 cases of pneumonia in Mexico City attributed to influenza-like infections of which 59 have resulted in fatalities. Because this virus has an origin in animals, it is spreading rapidly, and is affecting and resulting in fatalities among young, previously healthy people. As a result, the WHO feels that there is significant cause for concern. In response, CombiMatrix has contacted the Secretariat of Health in Mexico.
CombiMatrix's Influenza-Detection System provides very-high-resolution genotype information on any given flu strain, as well as information on novel strains of flu produced by rapid mutation or recombination between multiple strains. The current Swine Flu is a novel strain of influenza A, subtype H1N1. Other strains of influenza A include pathogenic Bird Flu (H5N1); the 1918 influenza pandemic (H1N1), which killed an estimated 50 million people; the 1968 Hong Kong Flu (H3N2), which caused a pandemic; and the 1976 Swine Flu (H1N1). CombiMatrix's Influenza Microarray can detect and distinguish each of these strains, as well as all other circulating subtypes and strains of Influenza A. Most importantly, as demonstrated by today's news, the array can be updated almost instantaneously. Several domestic and international government agencies have purchased CombiMatrix's system and can use the Influenza Microarray. CombiMatrix is already preparing arrays to be sent to such agencies for use.
"This past Sunday, the U.S. declared a public health emergency. Today, CombiMatrix has updated arrays in response. Rapid response and accurate information are the absolute key criteria when dealing with viruses such as influenza," said Dr. Amit Kumar, President and CEO of CombiMatrix. "CombiMatrix's platform is ideal for the rapid development of new tools to rapidly identify emerging diseases. In this case, we have again demonstrated the strength of our technology in taking the most up-to-date genetic information and incorporating it into an array that can be used for research, disease surveillance, and diagnostics."
Source: CombiMatrix (press release)
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