Abbott’s Iridica system on display at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, May 2014.

Abbott, Abbott Park, Ill, has announced that its innovative diagnostic platform, Iridica, is now available in Europe and other ?countries recognizing CE-mark certification as authorization for market entry. The new platform can identify more than 1,000 infection-causing pathogens in less than 6 hours, versus the current standard of care (culture-based testing), which can take days. By identifying the cause of infections—such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi—sooner, doctors can improve care for the critically ill.

“Doctors need better tools to diagnose people with serious infections,” says François Simon, MD, PhD, professor and chief of microbiology at Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris. “For those with sepsis, the survival rate decreases each hour treatment is delayed. Oftentimes, it’s because current tools cannot identify the source of infection in time for doctors to treat with the appropriate therapies.”

Iridica uses a combination of sophisticated testing technologies known as polymerase chain reaction/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) to rapidly identify infection-causing pathogens directly from a patient’s sample, without the need for culture. According to the results of an Abbott study, “Rapid Diagnosis of Infections in the Critically Ill” (RADICAL), the company’s new technology was able to detect pathogens when the current standard of care did not.

In the study, after retrospectively comparing the results of Abbott’s technology versus culture, a panel of seven independent physicians from Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, reported it would have prescribed a different course of treatment in nearly 60% of cases evaluated. Additionally, comparison of the study results against intensive care and non-intensive care costs in a hypothetical hospital seeing approximately 500 patients with blood-related infections each year, suggested that Abbott’s technology could help lower associated healthcare costs by 30%, and reduce hospital stays for people with serious infections by up to 8 days.


David J Ecker, PhD

“Currently, when a person enters a hospital with a suspected infection, it may take several days before the source can be accurately identified, which can delay appropriate treatment,” says David J. Ecker, PhD, divisional vice president of R&D for Abbott’s Ibis Biosciences business. “Iridica can offer a better and faster way to detect and identify pathogens that cause serious infections and aid physicians in diagnosing and managing the critically ill.”

The mission of Ibis Biosciences is to create diagnostic solutions that can provide faster, more actionable results for critical infections. Ibis Biosciences is focused on delivering an innovative approach to the detection and characterization of a broad array of microorganisms, contributing to Abbott’s expanding role in molecular testing.

Iridica also represents a step forward in the effort to combat the overuse of antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics have driven the rise of antibacterial resistance, which is considered an increasingly serious threat to public health.1


Jean-Louis Vincent, MD

“Slower diagnostic methods, like cultures, have led to the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics and antimicrobials and an emergence of new resistant superbugs,” says Jean-Louis Vincent, MD, PhD, professor of intensive care at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. “By identifying pathogens faster with Iridica, a doctor can quickly prescribe the most effective therapy, potentially limiting the indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.”

Iridica currently offers five testing panels for pathogens that cause infections in the critically ill such as sepsis; other bacterial, fungal and viral infections; and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

For additional information, visit Abbott.


1. Antimicrobial Resistance: Global Report on Surveillance. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2014. Available at: Accessed December 15, 2014.