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Focus Diagnostics Launches Laboratory Test for Chikungunya Virus
Date:2/15/2008

First Laboratory Developed Test in the U.S. for Detecting the

Mosquito-Borne Infectious Disease

CYPRESS, Calif., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Focus Diagnostics, Inc., the infectious disease diagnostics company of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), today announced the first laboratory developed test in the U.S. for detecting the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus. Commercial availability of the molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will enable physicians in the U.S. to test patients who may have contracted the virus, such as individuals returning from regions in Africa and Asia where chikungunya is endemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that the chikungunya virus, which caused an outbreak in Italy in 2007, has the potential to enter and spread in the U.S.

"The availability of our chikungunya virus PCR test will give healthcare providers in the U.S. an important option for identifying patients, particularly travelers, who may be infected with this potentially disabling virus," said Dr. Jay M. Lieberman, medical director, Infectious Diseases, Focus Diagnostics. "In recent years, Focus Diagnostics has brought to market new diagnostic tests that physicians can use to diagnose emerging infectious diseases, such as West Nile Virus and SARS. If chikungunya emerges in the U.S., our test could become an important tool to help mobilize an effective public health response. Chikungunya is a challenge to diagnose because its symptoms can mimic those of other diseases, including other mosquito-borne diseases, so the availability of an accurate diagnostic test is essential to minimize spread of the disease."

The chikungunya virus test is a molecular assay that employs P
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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