The Applied Biosystems® 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instrument from Life Technologies Corp, Carlsbad, Calif, 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.

LifeCleared under the FDA’s 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, the company is increasing production of its reagents and shipping them to labs around the world.

Life has a strong history of working with the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and public health labs to combat virus outbreaks:

  • 2009 — Formed a special 24-hour-a-day task force to respond to global requests for assistance with the H1N1 outbreak.
  • 2011 — 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 — 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 — 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.

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.

[Source: Life Technologies]