H5N1 Bird Flu Assay in new Combimatrix Influenza Array and Service, Acacia Research Corp./CombiMatrix Group

Acacia Research Corp. announced that its CombiMatrix Group launched a new comprehensive influenza DNA microarray as well as services for the typing of influenza strains. CombiMatrix’s Influenza Microarray is now a member of the CatalogArray product line and can detect and accurately type flu strains using a protocol that requires less than four hours start to finish. This new microarray can identify H5N1 bird flu as well as all other strains of Influenza A. It can also provide information on mutations and novel strains of flu not yet seen.

Acacia Research Corp. announced that its CombiMatrix Group launched a new comprehensive influenza DNA microarray as well as services for the typing of influenza strains. CombiMatrix's Influenza Microarray is now a member of the CatalogArray product line and can detect and accurately type flu strains using a protocol that requires less than four hours start to finish. This new microarray can identify H5N1 bird flu as well as all other strains of Influenza A.  It can also provide information on mutations and novel strains of flu not yet seen.
 
It is designed to work on samples from humans as well as from birds, pigs, horses, dogs, and various other animals.  Strains of Influenza A include H5N1 bird flu, which so far is resulting in 50% mortality rate among people who are infected; the 1918 strain, which killed an estimated 50 million people; the 1957 "Asian" flu and the 1968 "Hong Kong" flu, which both caused pandemics; the 1976 "Swine" flu; and the current dog flu.  The Influenza Microarray 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 of flu. This system is available to the flu researcher as a tool or as a service from CombiMatrix.
 
This system is also being developed as a field-deployable biodetector using electrochemical techniques for analysis. This array can be employed as an adjunct to existing technology, to type difficult or ambiguous samples of flu, or to study genetic drift in a flu virus as it moves through a population.
 
Knowledge of the exact strain, origin of the strain, and probable characteristics of the virus are critical for disease surveillance and limiting the spread of the disease. The current, major public health concern is the avian H5N1 virus, which has potential for further recombination with common human strains (such as H3N2) or other non-human strains common in avian populations (H7 and H9 strains).  The current strain, which was initially found in birds in East Asia, has only infected humans who have been exposed to infected birds.  Through the migration of birds, this strain has now been seen in other geographic regions and is expected to reach all continents.
 
Should the virus become transmissible from human to human, it has the potential to cause a world-wide pandemic.  In addition, many strains exhibit resistance to drugs that are used to treat influenza, and this array may identify these subtypes. Therefor, identification of the strain and subtype and accurate sequence information could be crucial to treatment of infected individuals as well as develop appropriate vaccines.
 
Acacia/CombiMatrix
800-985-CBMX


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