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Abbott Receives FDA Approval for First Automated Molecular Test for Assessing Hepatitis B Treatment
Date:9/1/2010

DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Abbott (NYSE: ABT) announced today it has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the Abbott RealTime HBV assay for measuring viral load or the amount of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in a patient's blood. It is the first and only approved test capable of automating HBV viral load testing from sample extraction to final results.

The Abbott RealTime HBV assay, based on real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology, is now available for laboratories that use the Abbott m2000 automated instrument system for molecular diagnostic testing. The test offers sensitive measurement (quantitation) of HBV in human plasma or serum from individuals chronically infected with HBV.

The assay is intended for use as an aid in the management of patients with chronic HBV infection undergoing anti-viral therapy. The assay can be used to measure HBV DNA levels at baseline and during treatment to aid in assessing response to treatment.  Assay results must be interpreted within the context of all relevant clinical and lab findings.  Use of the assay to determine the clinical stage of HBV infection has not been established.  Clinical performance characteristics have been established for individuals treated with adefovir dipivoxil.  The assay is not intended as a screening test for HBV or as a diagnostic test for confirming the presence of HBV infection.  

"The Abbott RealTime HBV assay, which is the first and only automated HBV viral load test approved by the FDA, is an important tool for helping physicians make and adjust treatment decisions for newly diagnosed patients and those taking anti-viral medications," said Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business.  "The test will also help improve laboratory productivity by
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