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LANL to certify automated influenza surveillance system
Date:1/31/2011

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, January 31, 2011A compact, self-contained, automated system for surveillance and screening of potential pandemic strains of influenza and other deadly infectious diseases is a step closer to reality, thanks to an agreement between Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health, and HighRes Biosolutions of Boston, Massachussets.

Researchers from LANL and the UCLA School of Public Health will test and certify a critical component of the High-Throughput Laboratory Network (HTLN) to be built by HighRes Biosolutions. The company will design the automated high-throughput extraction and screening system for a prototype Global Bio Laba compact, modular laboratory that can reliably process thousands of specimens of infectious agents to aid public health officials in responding to a global health crisis.

The extraction and screening system under development by HighRes Biosolutions will enable public health officials to cross reference genetic material from samples collected from infected persons or other sources with reference samples of genetic material from strains of infectious diseases of interest. This will allow public health officials to determine whether an outbreak of an infectious disease comes from a pandemic strain or one less virulent, or whether a strain of pathogen is on the cusp of mutating into a form that can become more transmissible or aggressively virulent. Because testing and verification methods are automated, the technology reduces the potential for errors. Access to fast, reliable data allows health officials to respond more effectively to potential public health crises.

Each self-contained HTLN unit occupies a small space. A suite of such modular laboratories across the world would comprise a global network. The network could provide consistency and resources to areas otherwise unlikely to have sophisticated pathogen-surveillance technology on ha
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Contact: James E. Rickman
jamesr@lanl.gov
505-665-9203
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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