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PCR Screening and Typing, Toolset Expanded for Ebolavirus

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 19 Aug 2014
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Image: Colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealing some of the ultrastructural morphology of an Ebolavirus virion (Image courtesy of Cynthia Goldsmith and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA; CDC ref# PHIL 1832), via Wikimedia Commons).
Image: Colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealing some of the ultrastructural morphology of an Ebolavirus virion (Image courtesy of Cynthia Goldsmith and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA; CDC ref# PHIL 1832), via Wikimedia Commons).
A new real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based assay for identification of the five Ebolavirus species and Marburgvirus has been added to the Ebolavirus diagnostics toolset.

altona Diagnostics, GmbH (Hamburg, Germany), focused on the development, approval, manufacturing, and marketing of molecular diagnostic test systems for the detection and quantification of pathogens, has added a real-time RT-PCR-based assay, the RealStar Filovirus type RT-PCR kit, for identification of the five known Ebolavirus species and of Marburgvirus to their product portfolio. In addition to other activities, altona Diagnostics was also among the first to make reliable diagnostic kits commercially available during outbreaks for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), avian Flu, swine Flu, and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC).

Together with their already existing RealStar Filovirus Screen RT-PCR kit for first-line analysis, which is currently being used in the epidemic epicenter in West-Africa by the European Mobile Laboratory, altona Diagnostics now offers a comprehensive assay family for the detection and characterization of filovirus RNA from human sample material. While the screen kit detects all five Ebolavirus species without differentiation, as well as Marburgvirus, the typing kit is meant to be used as a second-line assay for confirmation of positive results and to distinguish between the five Ebolavirus species as well as Marburgvirus. Both kits are compatible with various real-time PCR platforms.

“For us, in the current situation during this epidemic outbreak, it´s more relevant that we were able to come up with a ready-to-use first-line test kit for filoviruses , which is now used in Guinea and Nigeria to identify infected patients and which is stocked by several European reference institutions under their preparedness plans,” said Dr. Markus Hess, chief scientific officer of altona Diagnostics, “The characterization of a positive sample by using the RealStar Filovirus type RT-PCR kit for Ebola and Marburgvirus is more of epidemiological and scientific importance.”

The ready-to-use real-time PCR kits for screening and typing of filoviruses are available as research use only reagents, currently. The In-Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) CE-marked version of the RealStar Filovirus Screen RT-PCR Kit will be available in September 2014.

Related Links:

altona Diagnostics
RealStar Filovirus RT-PCR kits

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