Life Technologies Corporation announced that its Applied Biosystems® 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instrument is the sole platform cleared for use under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocol created for emergency screenings of patients suspected of harbouring the Avian influenza (H7N9) virus, which to date has led to 23 deaths in China and Taiwan.
Cleared under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instrument, in addition to Life's SuperScript III One-Step qRT-PCR reagent kit, is intended to be used with the CDC's human influenza virus assay to quickly monitor the spread of the pathogen and thwart a potential pandemic. To support this global need, Life Technologies is increasing production of its reagents and shipping them to labs around the world.
Life Technologies has a strong history of working with the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and public health labs to combat virus outbreaks:
• 2009 — Life Technologies formed a special 24-hour-a-day task force to respond to global requests for assistance with the H1N1 outbreak.
• 2011 — Life Technologies developed a custom assay to accurately detect the E. coli bacterium that spread through Europe. The assay was developed after company researchers, using samples supplied by scientists at University Hospital Munster, completed the DNA sequencing and analysis work on the deadly E. coli strain using the Ion PGM™ Sequencer.
• 2012 — Life Technologies established the Global Influenza Network, a partnership of scientists at a number of the world's leading government public health organizations, veterinary agencies and research institutes who collaborate in an effort to increase the speed and efficiency of influenza monitoring and vaccine development.
• Today — Life Technologies' Ion PGM™ Sequencer is being used to characterize the genetic sequence of the virus and to determine if it can be transmitted from human to human.
"We have learned through our past experiences that a strong surveillance program is crucial in times like these," said Dan Didier, Public Health Director for Life Technologies. "We are working continually with our partners around the globe on improving our capabilities, particularly when it comes to developing rapid detection kits."
Cases of the H7N9 virus have been reported out of China and Taiwan only. First cases of the human virus were confirmed in March with more than 100 cases.
SuperScript III One-Step qRT-PCR kit is for research use only; not intended for diagnostic purposes.