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Vela Diagnostics Develops Qualitative Tests for Identification of Deadly Viral Strains Associated with Recent Outbreaks

Vela Diagnostics today announced the availability of PCR-based Research Use Only (RUO) tests for the identification of genetic targets specific to a new strain of bird flu (H7N9), as well as a highly virulent strain of coronavirus (hCoV-EMC).

On concerns with both pathogens causing global outbreaks, Vela’s H7N9 and coronavirus tests are part of a broader program directed at investigating their potential as surveillance tools for patients suspected to be infected by these novel strains of virus.

Vela’s CEO Michael Tillmann said “the developments are a part of our social responsibility to provide the necessary tools and support in such situations. To this end we will work closely with experts as well as health care authorities worldwide.”

H7N9 strain of avian flu is an Influenza A virus subtype, which has so far infected over 130 people and is associated with a high death rate. The new coronavirus has exhibited human-to-human transmission and has shown to cause symptoms similar to the SARS coronavirus outbreak of 2002-2003, including severe acute pneumonia and death.

With plans to run their tests on Vela's automated Sentosa Workflow, with results available in as little as 4 hours, the Company is in the final stage of testing with research partners. While current data suggests that Vela’s currently available influenza A/B, 2009 H1N1 detects the H7N9 strain; the design of Vela’s new test will allow investigators to specifically differentiate the H7N9 strain of avian flu from other strains of the virus. This test is developed under an agreement with the Singapore based company PathGEN Dx. 

Similarly, the unique targets found within the coronavirus viral genome of hCoV- EMC will allow Vela’s new coronavirus test to specifically identify the hCoV-EMC strain. 

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