InstantLabs®, a provider of new generation portable PCR testing systems to users at points-of-need, has installed eight of its Hunter Accelerated-PCR® systems in Middle Eastern countries. InstantLabs has globally launched its Hunter system in the product verification and food safety markets, while concurrently advancing clinical development of human diagnostics tests. The capabilities and unique advantages of the system were featured at a Food Safety and Health Seminar held on May 24, 2011 in Doha , Qatar, and hosted by the state’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH). Qatar imports over 90% of its food and has a large guest worker population, making foodborne pathogen and infectious disease testing a high priority.

The Hunter system provides the accuracy of RT-PCR in a compact, portable, affordable and fully integrated system that makes possible gold-standard molecular diagnostic testing at points-of-need such as border control points, airports, and import facilities. InstantLabs designed this system with advanced networking capabilities that allow for central monitoring of Hunter units in use at multiple locations; an advantage for organizations like the SCH. Additional users in the Middle East include food and beverage companies, ministries of health, and prestigious reference labs in countries including Iraq, Jordan (the Jordanian FDA and the Jordanian Army Lab), Lebanon (the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute and the AZM Bio Research Lab in Tripoli), and Kuwait (the Kuwaiti Institute for Scientific Research).

“We are pleased by the reception of our technology in Middle Eastern countries for both food safety and medical diagnostic needs. These geographies are extremely dependent on food imports and unfortunately experience high rates of tuberculosis. With the Hunter system, we are now able to bring point-of-need, top quality real-time PCR system to geographies and organizations who can most benefit from rapid detection, accuracy, and affordability,” said W. Ross Newland, VP international for InstantLabs. “A large and growing selection of our patented chemistry-ready disposable assay cartridges are available to screen for Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other common and problematic foodborne pathogens.”

In addition to screening for foodborne pathogens, other potential applications for the Hunter system include disease screening (eg, for tuberculosis) at ports of entry, and measuring toxins and bacteria levels in water. Municipal authorities, health entities, and food companies can utilize the Hunter system to rapidly and accurately conduct pathogen testing and reporting, without typical waiting times associated with central reference laboratories. Newland also noted that InstantLabs has interest in partnership agreements with local scientific institutions and reference laboratories, based on specific RT-PCR tests for the food and human pathogens that constitute the biggest challenges in the region.