PrimerDesign develops world's first test kit for Tamiflu-resistant
11 September 2009
PrimerDesign, the Southampton-based specialists in gene detection and
real time PCR gene quantification, has launched the world's first test
kit for detecting a new drug-resistant strain of the swine flu virus.
The mutated virus has been identified in isolated cases Europe,
Asia and North America.
With the widespread use of the Tamiflu drug as a treatment for the
disease, it is expected that such strains will spread and become common.
The new kit will help health organisations and governments track the
spread of the mutated virus, enabling them to develop effective
strategies for tackling it.
The kit provides results within 2 hours compared to the usual three
days. A first test confirms if a patient sample is positive or negative
for swine flu. The second test determines if the swine flu is a mutant,
Dr Rob Powell from PrimerDesign said, "We have already seen this
worst case scenario emerge with ordinary circulating flu. Standard human
flu strains are now almost completely resistant to Tamiflu, rendering
the drug ineffective."
PrimerDesign Director Dr Jim Wicks commented, "The kit is a crucial
weapon in containing the spread of the mutant swine flu. Speed of
identification is a crucial factor in minimising the impact of the
PrimerDesign produces genetic detection kits for numerous other
viruses and conditions. The company drew worldwide attention earlier in
the year by developing the world's first DNA test kit for Mexican Swine
Primer Design is part of Southampton University's SETsquared Business
Incubation programme, which provides intensive business support to
high-tech start-up companies. One of four centres in Southern England,
the programme uses in-house expertise and a network of seasoned
entrepreneurs, investment advisors, professional services firms and
academics to provide the breadth and depth of support that emerging
technology companies of the future require.
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