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Life Technologies is stepping up efforts to help public health laboratories in China and across the globe monitor the spread of the Avian influenza (H7N9) virus, which has claimed the lives of 23 people to date. To support this global need, the company is increasing production of its reagents and shipping them to labs around the world.

The effort is also aided by the broad install base of Life’s 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instruments, which the FDA recently cleared for human screenings of the Avian flu under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The platform can also be used in conjunction with Life Technologies’ SuperScript III One-Step qRT-PCR reagent kit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocol created for emergency H7N9 screenings.

Life Technologies has a strong history of working with the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and public health labs to combat virus outbreaks:

  • 2009 – Life Technologies formed a special 24-hour-a-day task force to respond to global requests for assistance with the H1N1 outbreak.  
  • 2011 – Life Technologies developed a custom assay to accurately detect the E. coli bacterium that spread through Europe.  The assay was developed after company researchers, using samples supplied by scientists at University Hospital Munster, completed the DNA sequencing and analysis work on the deadly E. coli strain using the Ion PGM™ Sequencer.    
  • 2012 – Life Technologies established the Global Influenza Network, a partnership of scientists at a number of the world’s leading government public health organizations, veterinary agencies and research institutes who collaborate in an effort to increase the speed and efficiency of influenza monitoring and vaccine development. 
  • Today – Life Technologies’ Ion PGM™ Sequencer is being used to characterize the genetic sequence of the virus and to determine if it can be transmitted from human to human.

“We have learned through our past experiences that a strong surveillance program is crucial in times like these,” said Dan Didier, Public Health Director for Life Technologies.  “We are working continually with our partners around the globe on improving our capabilities, particularly when it comes to developing rapid detection kits.”

Cases of the H7N9 virus have been reported out of China and Taiwan only.  First cases of the human virus were confirmed in March with more than 100 cases.

SuperScript III One-Step qRT-PCR kit is for research use only; not intended for diagnostic purposes.


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