Swine Flu Profiling with Randox Cytokine Array
Product News May 18, 2009
Most flu infections are harmless, but sometimes a novel strain appears which causes fatalities. Randox has a cytokine biochip array that can help determine the virulence of these novel strains, providing a rapid determination of patients in immediate need of therapy.
The current Swine flu outbreak has caused deep concern throughout the world, in part because it appears to be effecting a young, healthy population. This makes it similar to the 1918 flu pandemic that killed between 20-100 million people worldwide, so needs to be taken seriously. This strain, however, is new and this may explain its virulence, as the host does not recognize what should otherwise be a relatively harmless infection.
The reason why novel forms of flu are so deadly is because they provoke a hyper-immune response, where the body secretes a “cytokine storm” in the absence of a more specific infection reaction. Ironically, the better the body’s defence system, the more aggressive it is in attacking itself, hence the young, healthy adults bearing the brunt of the fatalities. This was the case in the 1918 flu pandemic.
Both SARS and bird flu (H5N1) have shown evidence of cytokine storms and have proved fatal, but the human-human infection has been contained. In contrast, the H1N1 swine flu outbreak has been spread from human to human and, according to CNN, has spanned 21 countries, causing 26 deaths (25 in Mexico) and 1,117 confirmed cases (5th May, noon GMT).
The cytokine storm typically secretes a cocktail of defence molecules, particularly IL-1, IL-6, TNF and IL-10. All of these cytokines are present on the Randox Cytokine I biochip array, available in both a standard and high sensitivity format and can be used on both Evidence and Investigator analyzers.
The Randox platform is easy to use and offers excellent performance on reproducibility and sensitivity. Complete with controls and calibrators, this system is already being used in major hospitals around the world to assess the ‘cytokine storm’.
There are conflicting reports as to whether this strain of Influenza-A has evoked a cytokine storm, but Randox can provide the tools to accurately and rapidly determine if this does occur. As numbers of patients presenting with this form of flu increase, a more accurate picture will be obtained, if the correct analysis is performed.
Using the latest technology, each cytokine assay is performed on an activated biochip with discrete test regions specific to each cytokine. Advanced chemistries enables 12 cytokines to be detected simultaneously in a single, 100µl serum sample, providing valuable information in the determination of a cytokine storm.