Life Technologies Supports Laboratories in Battle Against Swine Flu

01 May 2009
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Life Technologies Corporation, a provider of innovative life science solutions, today announced that it is providing its technologies to health officials across the globe to aid in the identification of influenza strains, particularly the strain associated with the recent outbreak of the influenza A H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.

The company has formed a special 24-hour-a-day task force across key business units within Life Technologies to coordinate the company-wide response to global requests for assistance with the outbreak. The task force is leading efforts to provide health agencies with front line support such as instrument training, managing the supply chain to ensure that products get to customers as quickly as possible, and ensuring appropriate regulatory compliance. Also, Life Technologies is accelerating the manufacture of components that will be used by laboratories to test for and identify influenza.

“The spread of this new virus illustrates the importance of strong global surveillance programs,” said Mark Stevenson, President and Chief Operating Officer for Life Technologies. “Our technologies continue to be essential tools for public health agencies as they shift from reacting to the emergence of a potentially pandemic flu strain to proactively monitoring populations to identify the new strain as it arises.”

Life Technologies, through its Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems brands, offers components that support the workflow surrounding the identification of influenza virus strains. The company’s products include the MagMAX™ Viral RNA Isolation Kits for RNA purification; the SuperScript® III

Platinum® One-Step qRT-PCR kit for amplification of viral RNA; TaqMan® Influenza A Detection Kit 2.0 for initial influenza type A screening; and several different capillary electrophoresis systems for determining the base-by-base sequence of viral samples. Additionally, the company offers its 7500 Fast and Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instruments under the Applied Biosystems brand.

Last September, the 7500 Fast Dx instrument received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with the CDC Human Influenza Virus Real-time RT-PCR Detection and Characterization Panel (rRT-PCR Flu Panel) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While both products received independent FDA 510(k) clearances, they are required to be used together as a system for the detection of influenza.

Due to this public health emergency, the FDA issued the CDC a Letter of Authorization to allow for the emergency use of a new CDC rRT-PCR detection panel for the swine flu. The authorization letter instructs qualified laboratories to perform the assay on an Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instrument or the 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR instrument.

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