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Cellex, Inc. Receives NIH Grant to Develop Rapid Test for Detection of Carbapenemase Producing Organisms (CPOs)

Avioq, Inc. announced that Cellex, Inc. has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for developing a rapid test named qCPO for detection of carbapenemase producing organisms (CPO). The grant was jointly awarded to Cellex and Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. The qCPO test uses homogeneous biochemiluminescence assay (HBA) technology developed by Cellex.

“If successfully developed, the test would allow detection of a CPO within 15 minutes using a single culture colony, providing an important tool in fighting CPOs,” said Dr. Chamroen Chetty, CEO of Avioq. Current methods suffer various drawbacks including limited number of assayed carbapenemase targets for molecular assays and long turn-around time for phenotyping assays. qCPO is unique in that it detects enzyme activity.

About Carbapenemase Producing Organisms (CPOs)

Carbapenems are antibiotics of last-resort. These agents are crucial for preventing and treating life-threatening bacterial infections. Carbapenemase enzymes, which degrade carbapenems thereby conferring carbapenem resistance, are harbored on transmissible mobile genetic elements called plasmids that are easily spread from species to species and even among different genera of Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria harboring carbapenemase enzymes, in particular Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemases (KPC), have been identified in nearly all States in the U.S. Even more concerning is the increasing reports of the appearance of non-endemic carbapenemase variants in the U.S. such as New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM)-producing Gram-negative bacilli. Early detection of CPOs in the health care-setting is required as patients with unrecognized colonization with a CPO serve as a reservoir for transmission during health-care associated outbreaks. Therapeutic options for infections caused by a CPO are limited and infections with a CPO have been associated with significant morbidity and mortality. For more information, please refer to the CDC guidance.

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