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Fast pandemic detection tool ready to fight flu
Date:6/9/2009

ntly used.

"As the recent outbreak of the swine flu shows, we need to do a much more extensive and thorough job of surveillance," said Dr. Tony Beugelsdijk, leader of the HTLN project at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "This program will provide the world with the tools for this task."

Current genetic identification methods require lots of time and manpower. The new genotyping system features two robots and the ability to fully sequence 10,000 or more influenza viruses per year. This makes it much faster and more reliable than current methods, and reduces the amount of manpower necessary to process a large number of samples.

"This system is the next-generation tool to rapidly and accurately test and identify biological pathogens in mass quantities of samples," said Nick Roelofs, vice president and general manager of Agilent Life Sciences Solutions Unit. "Capable of performing tests 100 times faster than any current method, it will provide reliable, real-time data to the global health community. Given current health concerns about the swine flu, the system addressees an immediate and vital need in the public health arena."

Later this summer the system will be delivered to UCLA, where researchers will operate the system for public health research and surveillance, and train others to use the new tool. If necessary, the system has surge capacity and the ability to test samples in response to a pandemic should the need arise.

"The automated genotyping system will vastly increase the speed and volume by which influenza samples are analyzed," added Dr. Scott Layne, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health. "The pace of emerging infectious disease outbreaks in the world is increasing and demands new kinds of technologies be created and applied. These technologies will help us to safeguard public health and save lives."

LANL and UCLA researchers are currently determining protocols for culturing and
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Contact: James Rickman
jamesr@lanl.gov
505-665-9203
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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