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Experts Report that Abbott's New PLEX-ID Assay Offers Important Testing Capabilities for Biothreat Defense

MUNICH, Nov. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Abbott's PLEX-ID system provides reliable and rapid results for key microbial biothreat agents and should be considered as a first line analytical tool for biodefense, biosecurity and microbial forensics programs, according to research presented at the 13th Medical Biodefense Conference in Munich.  The meeting is a global congress for civilian and military researchers covering the latest developments in the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of diseases caused by dangerous pathogens.

"An essential component for robust defense against bioterrorism is to develop rapid microbial forensic diagnostic capabilities so threats can be identified with prompt and appropriate actions taken in response," said Bruce Budowle, Ph.D., professor, forensic and investigative genetics, University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, speaking at a symposium sponsored by the German Society for Military Medicine and Pharmacy.  "The PLEX-ID is a versatile instrument system and when coupled with the Biothreat Assay showed broad detection capability for a wide range of deadly and crippling microbes that could be used in a bioterrorism attack."

The PLEX-ID Biothreat Assay rapidly identifies 17 different biothreat pathogens without the need for time consuming culture testing.  A variety of specimens including blood, food, water, and air filter samples can be analyzed, and definitive results can be generated in less than eight hours.

Carson D. Baldwin, Ph.D., research chemist, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), presented results of an evaluation of the PLEX-ID Biothreat Assay in which several different panels of specimens were analyzed utilizing the Biothreat Assay.  The specimens contained pathogenic bacteria and viruses that could be used by terrorists to cause anthrax, cholera, and other diseases.  In the evaluation, PLEX-ID correctly detected and identified all the targeted bacteria and viruses including several important subspecies.

Rapid identification and characterization of potential biothreat agents is critical and was cited by speakers at the Medical Biodefense Conference as an attribute of the PLEX-ID system.


The PLEX-ID system combines the sensitivity of nucleic acid amplification with the accuracy of high-performance electrospray ionization mass spectrometry followed by base-composition analysis to identify a broad array of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.  Certain PLEX-ID assays also provide information about drug resistance, virulence, and strain type.  Anticipated public health and biodefense applications include epidemiologic research and identification of emerging or previously unknown agents. In addition, the system is being used for forensic characterization of human samples. In 2009, PLEX-ID was recognized by both The Scientist and the Wall Street Journal as a top scientific innovation of the year. Since its development in 2005, PLEX-ID technology has been deployed in sites around the United States, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

About Abbott  

Abbott (NYSE: ABT) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics.  The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at

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