Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rapid Blood Test by GPs Can Rule Out Serious Infections in Children

The researchers from Belgium and Oxford, led by Dr Jan Verbakel, an Honorary Clinical Lecturer in Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, say their findings are important for improving the accuracy of diagnosis of unwell children in primary care, which could reduce the number of unnecessary hospital referrals, and, ultimately, the strain on secondary health care services.

In the early stages, serious infections such as meningitis, pneumonia, kidney or bone infections, or dangerous inflammations of the skin, have symptoms that resemble those of more common viral infections. They are also very rare. 'As a result, serious infections tend to stay off the general practitioner's radar for too long. We asked ourselves how rapid diagnostic tests might help solve this problem,' said Dr Verbakel, who is also a Belgium-based GP and a postdoctoral researcher at KU Leuven Faculty of Medicine, where the clinical study was carried out.

The rapid point-of-care blood test for the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) takes only four minutes and, in this study, was able to rule out serious infection in nearly 40% of children who presented as being at-risk by the usual clinical assessment. This includes at least one of the following symptoms: breathlessness, a temperature of 40°C and above, or diarrhoea if the child is aged between 12-30 months.

In their randomised trial involving 78 general practices and 3,100 unwell children across Flanders in Belgium, the researchers showed that the usual clinical assessment would flag 57 children for referral to hospital, out of which only one would be found to have a serious infection. Including the CRP test in these cases could reduce the number of referrals to 35.

Dr Verbakel said: 'Point-of-care CRP testing cannot replace a general practitioner. Does the GP sense that something is off? Is the child short of breath, or running a fever of more than 40°C? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it's useful to perform a point-of-care CRP test. Our study showed that with this procedure, all serious infections were detected during the first visit to the general practitioner. But there's no need to test all ill children.'

He added: 'Thanks to the combination of a clinical examination of the patient, possibly followed by a point-of-care CRP test, general practitioners can detect serious infections more quickly and more objectively. And for children who are less seriously ill, the procedure prevents unnecessary hospital referrals and anxiety. The point-of-care CRP test is a valuable tool for general practitioners, but it has to be used responsibly.'

The paper 'Should all acutely ill children in primary care be tested with point-of-care CRP: a cluster randomised trial' is published in BMC Medicine.

bioMérieux Introduces EviSight™ Compact, a New Automated Diagnostic Solution for Microbial Detection in Pharmaceutical Production

bioMérieux, a world leader in the field of industrial microbiological control, announces the launch of EviSight™ Compact, an intelligent incubator system providing real time culture media reading. For use in pharmaceutical industry R&D and production settings, EviSight™ Compact combines incubation, intelligent automated detection and enumeration of colonies of bacteria, yeasts and molds in a single system. This launch results from bioMérieux’s acquisition of the company Advencis (Strasbourg-France) in October 2014.

Through kinetic reading, EviSight™ Compact’s high-magnification digital imaging technology provides every 30 minutes high resolution color images of the microbial cultures for colony detection.

Specific algorithms analyze every image and enable the detection of colonies at early growth stages, from a size as small as 30 microns. Openly configurable alert and action level settings allow to raise real time flagging of out of specification results thus saving production time. This new system provides highly reliable results for increased product safety and reduced costs for pharmaceutical companies.

“The EviSight™ Compact platform is the first direct result from the synergies born from the recent acquisition of Advencis by bioMérieux. With an expertise of more than 25 years and a solid position of leadership in the field of industrial microbiological control, we are especially proud to provide our customers from pharmaceutical industry with this pioneering solution which enables rapid and intelligent identification of micro-organisms,” says Michaël Reynier, VP Health & Personal Care Business at bioMérieux. “This innovation further strengthens our portfolio of solutions for the pharmaceutical sector and illustrates our commitment to protecting consumers’ health”.

EviSight™ Compact works with ordinary ready-to-use plates and filters, allowing easy implementation and validation for the daily routine. Its embedded data processing system meets the increasing demand from the pharmaceutical industry for data integrity, traceability and reliability of quality control methods. This compact system can be used at each step of drug development and manufacturing, from the very first stage of R&D to finished products, including growth promotion test, environmental control, water testing and in-process sample testing. The system is scalable to up to 4 units connected to one computer for 6 to 12 plates per unit.

EviSight™ Compact will be progressively rolled out worldwide, starting in: France, the United-Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Benelux, the U.S., Canada and India.

BD Expands Efforts to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance with New Automated ID/AST System

BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, announced the launch of its next generation diagnostic instrument for the rapid identification of bacteria and detection of antimicrobial resistance.

The global health care community is facing unprecedented challenges with the spread of multidrug resistant organisms, and today’s clinical microbiology laboratories are under increasing pressure to provide fast and accurate bacterial identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (ID/AST) results to influence clinical decision and outcomes.

The new BD Phoenix™ M50 ID/AST system helps deliver the same rapid, accurate and cost-effective testing as the legacy BD Phoenix™ 100, within a smaller footprint. The system is highly reliable and requires no preventative maintenance, thanks to innovative materials and engineering techniques employed during its development. In addition to being robust, the system offers multiple languages, facilitating even broader adoption in laboratories around the world.

The new system benefits from the demonstrated performance of the legacy BD Phoenix 100 system for detecting current and emerging resistances as well as the extended testing capabilities provided by BD Phoenix™ Emerge AST panel with 136 wells.

The BD Phoenix M50 system also offers integration with multiple other analyzers, including the BD BACTEC™ and BD Bruker™ MALDI Biotyper systems, through BD EpiCenter™ middleware connectivity that enables data traceability and security, paperless workflow and flexible communication capabilities to deliver the efficiencies expected by laboratories of all sizes. The BD Phoenix M50 system joins the overall BD diagnostics portfolio to help drive the transformation of microbiology.

"The small footprint of the BD Phoenix M50 system combined with its demonstrated speed, accuracy and efficiency makes the system an attractive solution for microbiology laboratories around the world," said Dave Hickey, president of Diagnostics Systems for BD. "This launch reinforces the engagement of BD to become more relevant in ID/AST and intensifies its support to the fight against antimicrobial resistance."

Researchers Find Way to ID Many Pathogens with Few DNA Probes

Rice University scientists have invented a technology that could potentially identify hundreds of bacterial pathogens simply, quickly and at low cost using a single set of random DNA probes. Rice's "universal microbial diagnostic," or UMD, uses pieces of randomly assembled DNA and mathematical techniques that were originally pioneered for signal processors inside digital phones and cameras.

In a paper online this week in Science Advances, Rice's research team used lab tests to verify that UMD could identify 11 known strains of bacteria using the same five random DNA probes. Because the probes are not specific to a particular disease, the technology provides a genomic-based bacterial identification system that does not require a one-to-one ratio of DNA probes to pathogenic species.

"If a laboratory today wants to test for 200 known pathogenic species, they need 200 different tests, each with its own specific DNA probe that was designed specifically to bind with DNA from a particular pathogen," said study co-author Richard Baraniuk, the lead scientist on the new study. "Our technology is fundamentally different. With a small set of DNA probes, we can test for a large number of species."

The new study includes several computer simulations, including one that shows how a random selection of five probes can identify 40 different strains of bacteria, and another that demonstrates how the system can accurately differentiate between 24 different species of Staphylococcus.

Baraniuk said UMD could help in treating and limiting the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In many U.S. hospitals, it still takes several days to definitively identify the specific bacterium that's making someone sick," said Baraniuk, Rice's Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "The lack of rapid bacterial diagnostics can promote antibiotic resistance. Having an accurate, efficient and rapid system for identifying infectious pathogens quickly and inexpensively would help, and such a system would also be a valuable tool for public health, defense, global health and environmental science."

Historically, scientists identified bacteria by first culturing a sample—a process that takes several days—and then examining the organism under a microscope. More recent genomic identification methods that use polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, and genomic sequencing can be faster but require expensive equipment and training as well as a specific DNA probe for each pathogen to be tested. The probes are snippets of complementary DNA from a known disease. If the DNA from a patient's sample binds with the complementary DNA in a disease probe, the diagnosis is positive for that disease.

"Probe A is only good for finding bacterium A, and probe B is only good for finding bacterium B," said study lead author Amirali Aghazadeh, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering in Baraniuk's lab. "Manufacturing such a probe for a new disease can take days to months and also requires expensive facilities that are only available in developed countries.

"With universal microbial diagnostic, we won't need new probes or to change any other parts of the sensing hardware," he said. "For any newly discovered bacterial strain, we can just adapt the software a little bit, and then the same platform can identify the new bacterium like any other."

Rather than identifying a target strain based on a 100 percent match with a specific probe, Rice's system tests how well the target DNA binds with several different random segments of complementary DNA. UMD uses a mathematical technique called compressive sensing, which was pioneered in the field of digital signal processing. With compressive sensing, the disease DNA need not bind with 100 percent of the probes. Instead, the UMD system measures how well the disease DNA binds with each of the random probes and creates a specific binding profile for the test organism. It then uses deductive reasoning to determine whether that profile matches the profile of any known pathogens.

"We believe the system will be most useful for rapidly and accurately looking for known targets, such as any organism on the World Health Organization's list of known pathogens, but another advantage of this method is that we get useful information even for organisms that have never been sequenced before," said study co-author Rebekah Drezek, professor of bioengineering and of electrical and computer engineering. "We'd be able to tell what pathogen a new disease is most closely related to."

IIT-M Develops a Lab-on-a-Chip Diagnostic Device

A simple, self-powered, lab-on-a-chip device that could enable diagnoses of several diseases, which is both affordable and accessible even in resource-constrained settings, has successfully passed preclinical trials, thanks to research done by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M). The results were published on September 22 in the journal Biomicrofluidics.

A team led by Prof. Ashis Kumar Sen, the corresponding author of the paper from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, used a 2-cm-long microchannel device that employs capillary force to draw blood into the device to separate plasma from whole blood and test glucose level in diabetic patients.

The first part of the microchannel device has hydrophilic walls (top and two side walls) that help the blood sample to be drawn in through capillary force. But one centimetre away, all the four walls of the microchannel are hydrophobic. Like a drop of water on a Teflon surface, the blood comes together and forms a large contact angle (more than 90 degrees) when it enters the hydrophobic region. The forward movement of the blood is suddenly impeded and the blood cells tend to accumulate in the hydrophobic region of the microchannel.

Unlike blood cells, the plasma with its low viscosity continues to move forward due to the momentum gained while passing through the hydrophilic region. “The blood cells slow down and then stop moving at the hydrophobic region and form a self built-in filter, while the plasma continues to move past the cells,” says Prof. Sen. “By creating a differential wetting behaviour in the microchannel we were able to separate the plasma from the blood cells.” Separating the plasma from blood cells is essential as it improves sensitivity and reliability. Most blood analyses are based on optical detection techniques, and blood cells present tend to interfere with the optical path resulting in low sensitivity.

The device does not require any external or internal power as it relies on capillary force to draw blood and the separation of plasma from blood cells is achieved through differential wetting behaviour of the microchannel walls.

“Only 5 microlitre of blood is required and in 15 minutes we get 450 nanolitre of plasma which further increases with time. With suitable design modifications we have also achieved higher plasma volume up to 2 microlitre in 15 min, which is adequate for detection of most analytes,” says M. Sneha Maria, the first author of the paper from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras. It takes 15-20 minutes to test the samples and get the results.

The detection platform for different diseases and conditions can be integrated within the device inside the hydrophobic region. “This is a proof-of-concept study so we used commercially available glucose test strips to detect glucose level in the blood samples,” says Ms. Maria. The sensitivity of the disposable device is comparable to conventional blood tests, says Prof. Sen.

Unlike the microchannel device used by the IIT team, many commercial glucometers rely on whole blood for testing. Using whole blood can cause measurement errors due to various hematocrit levels (the ratio of the volume of red cells to the volume of whole blood). When the hematocrit levels are high the viscosity of blood is more and this leads to low glucose concentration and underestimation. Overestimation results when the hematocrit levels are low. “There is a likelihood of more than 10 per cent error in glucose detection when whole blood is used,” says Ms. Maria.

The team is now testing the device for diagnosis of dengue. Currently, rapid diagnostic test kits either use whole blood which affects the sensitivity or centrifuged plasma for dengue detection. This is where the device can score over others. Prof. Sen is hopeful that the device can be used for parallel detection of analytes for several diseases using just one blood sample. “We intend to separate the plasma to multiple detection sites for studying several diseases in one go,” he says.

BD Unveils Next Generation Wireless Point-of-Care Diagnostic Device

BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, today announced the launch of its next generation wireless rapid diagnostic system for detection of influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and group A strep, with new traceability and secure patient health record documentation features and functionality.

The new wireless BD Veritor™ Plus System provides health care providers and laboratorians in physician offices, clinics, hospitals and integrated delivery networks (IDNs) with objective, lab-quality immunoassay test results within minutes. This rapid and accurate solution streamlines the point-of-care (POC) diagnostic workflow and enables providers to quickly review patient results to assist in determining the appropriate treatment in a single consultation. The system can help detect influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and group A strep while the patient is still on site, which enables faster decision making for an earlier intervention opportunity.

The BD Veritor Plus System benefits from the demonstrated performance of the legacy BD Veritor System and offers new features to improve quality control (QC) by identifying QC results. The enhanced documentation functionality includes user ID, specimen ID and test kit lot to improve traceability, which decreases manual documentation.

The new BD Veritor Plus System also offers the BD Cloud Connectivity Solution ― a technology that allows users to wirelessly transfer test data securely to an electronic medical record (EMR) or a laboratory information system (LIS) to enable data access across an entire IDN. This can help to reduce potential errors associated with manual documentation and streamlines POC testing workflow to enable physicians to more easily access test results  and use the information to determine next steps in patient care.

Millions of people are sickened by influenza in the U.S. each year.i Additionally, most children will have respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by the time they are twoii and 20 percent to 30 percent of sore throats in children are caused by group A Streptococcus.iii The BD Veritor Plus System, with enhanced features, can aid in the diagnosis of these disease states.

"As we are on the cusp of the flu season, it is critical that providers have the diagnostic tools they need to assist them in quickly and accurately identifying infectious diseases, like flu, RSV and strep and in assigning treatment protocols," said Dave Hickey, president of Diagnostic Systems at BD. "The BD Veritor Plus System's ability to provide reliable test results and wirelessly transfer them to health records could ultimately lead to better outcomes through rapid detection and simplified workflow."

A Faster Way to Detect Salmonella in Meat, Chicken

A team of scientists led by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers has found a faster and more precise way to detect salmonella in beef and chicken, a finding that could help prevent major illnesses.

Salmonella is the lauding cause of bacteria-associated foodborne illnesses in the United States, according to the study. Thus, early detection of the pathogen, by a rapid and sensitive test is important to prevent the illness.

In a newly published study, researchers artificially contaminated food with salmonella. They then tested the food samples using Salmonella-specific antibodies combined with a unique signal amplification technique. Their test found salmonella present after 15 hours and removed other microorganisms that sometimes clutter laboratory results. This is shorter than the two to three days it takes to detect salmonella in a culture, the study shows.

"The test has great potential as a simple monitoring system for foodborne pathogens in food samples, which can improve food safety and public health," said Soohyoun Ahn, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food science and human nutrition and lead author of the study. "Even with all the strategies used to minimize contamination of beef and poultry, they are still one of the major food vehicles for salmonella."

The test would be suitable for any government research laboratory or industry that routinely tests for Salmonella, Ahn said.

Contamination of foodborne pathogens causes an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually in the United States, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control report in 2011.

Ahn sees the salmonella test showing similar potential for faster detection of other pathogens you can get from eating certain contaminated foods. A similar test has been developed for E. coli in milk and ground beef, and it performed well, she said.

The study is published in the Journal of Food Safety:

Gene P. D. Herzig, Muhsin Aydin, Samantha Dunigan, Parth Shah, Kwang Cheol Jeong, Si Hong Park, Steven C. Ricke, Soohyoun Ahn. Magnetic Bead-Based Immunoassay Coupled with Tyramide Signal Amplification for Detection ofSalmonellain Foods. Journal of Food Safety, 2016; 36 (3): 383 DOI: 10.1111/jfs.12255

New Sensor Could Help Fight Deadly Bacterial Infections

Scientists have built a new sensor that can detect the potentially deadly E.coli bacteria in 15-20 minutes, much faster than traditional lab tests. E.coli can be transmitted in contaminated food and water, posing particular risks to children and the elderly. In the late spring of 2011 a serious outbreak of E.coli bacteria sickened thousands of people in Germany and killed more than 50.

A team of researchers from the Photonics Research Center at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, Canada, under direction of Professor Wojtek J. Bock and collaborators from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, have built a new sensor that can quickly and cost-effectively detect E.coli over a wide temperature range. The researchers describe the sensor in a paper in the journal Optics Letters, from The Optical Society.

"Using currently available technologies, which are mostly based on amplification of the sample, it takes several hours to days to detect the presence of bacteria. A fast and accurate detection alternative is, therefore, preferable over the existing technology," said Saurabh Mani Tripathi, a physicist at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Faster tests for the bacteria could lead to faster treatment of patients, as well as to cheaper and easier environmental monitoring, he said.

The new sensor uses bacteriophages -- viruses that can naturally latch onto and kill bacteria. The viruses are bonded to the surface of an optical fiber and will grab E.coli bacteria from a sample and keep them attached. When a beam of light strikes the surface, the presence of E.coli shifts the wavelength in a telltale sign of bacterial contamination.

One of the challenges of using optical fibers for bacteria detection is that temperature changes can alter the optical properties of the materials. Sensors are therefore often designed to work at a particular temperature and give inaccurate readings if the sample gets much hotter or colder.

Tripathi and his colleagues overcame this challenge by adding an additional optical component and in effect canceling out temperature-induced shifts. Their device is temperature insensitive over an approximately 20-degree Celsius / 68-degree Farenheight range, starting at room temperature and going up to 40-degrees Celsius / 104-degrees Farenheight.

The temperature insensitivity makes the sensor more practical for outdoor applications, like on-site monitoring of water reservoirs, Tripathi said. He also noted that the food industry and pathology labs are other possible users of the new sensors. The sensor can be modified to detect other strains of bacteria by changing the bacteriophage.

The research group is currently collaborating with Security and Protection International, Inc., a Canadian company, to explore commercialization of their device. Bock said that costs are hard to estimate at this stage of the research, but that the team hopes to deliver portable units for a few thousand dollars.

"Pathogenic bacterial infection is one of the biggest causes of death, and a fast response time is much needed for timely detection and subsequent cure of bacterial infection," Tripathi said. "I'm excited by the very low time [our sensor needs] to accurately detect the presence of E. coli bacteria in water collected from environments at different temperatures."

Paper: K. Dandapat, S. Tripathi, Y. Chinifooroshan, W. Bock and P. Mikulic, "A compact and cost-effective temperature insensitive bio-sensor based on long period fiber gratings for accurate detection of E.coli bacteria in water," Opt. Lett. 41, 1498-4201. DOI: 10.1364/OL.41.004198.

Kemri Develops Kit for Rapid Test of Rift Valley Fever Virus

Rift Valley fever will now be detected and treated early following the development of a rapid-testing kit.

Unlike before when tests for the disease had to be done at the Kenya Medical Research Institute or other advanced labs, the new kit, known as ImmunoLine, can be used in hospitals and results known in less than five minutes.

“The kit was developed with help from Japan International Cooperation Agency. It will save lives by detecting the disease early and containing it before it spreads,” said Kemri head of production department James Kimotho.

The gadget uses the same technique like the HIV testing kit and shows two red stripes for a positive test of the fever and one for a negative result.

Dr Kimotho said ImmunoLine was the first kit to be developed by Kemri for testing the fever.

“The problem with using other kits is that results take long. It is also very costly since Sh25,000 is needed for 96 tests. The kits are not locally available,” he said.

He added that Kemri was in the final stages of testing the tool on a large scale and that it would be ready for production and distribution to hospitals in six months.

Dr Kimotho said more than 200 samples had been tested using the kit during the pilot stage, which took five years, and it had proved effective.

Kemri senior marketing officer Doris Night said before ImmunoLine, there were no gadgets for testing the fever effectively.

“If a domestic animal like a cow, sheep or goat is infected with the fever, the people handling it are likely to get the disease too,” she said.

She added that movement of people could also spread the illness.

Ms Night said a pack of ImmunoLine costing less than Sh100 could test 20 samples.

According to Dr Kimotho, Kemri researchers were working with independent investigators to verify results of the samples tested by the kit before approaching the Health ministry to support its mass production.

He said evaluation tests for ImmunoLine had also been conducted in Uganda.

TGen Develops Test for Healthcare-Acquired Infections

A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) details the design and validation of a low-cost, rapid and highly accurate screening tool — known as KlebSeq  — for potentially deadly healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), such as Klebsiella pneumoniae.

HAIs affect hundreds of thousands of patients annually and add nearly $10 billion in associated healthcare costs.

The findings, to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, detail the workings of the KlebSeq test at detecting HAIs earlier, in particular Klebsiella, which has multiple strains, such as ST258, which are increasingly resistant to treatment by antibiotics.

Unlike traditional assays that require growing a live culture in a laboratory setting, which adds days to the testing process and layers on cost, KlebSeq employs a technique called amplicon sequencing that identifies the presence of Klebsiella and stratifies its characteristics, such as strain type and whether it may be antibiotic resistant.

“KlebSeq is able to accurately and consistently identify and characterize Klebsiella from many different types of specimen samples, including blood, urine, nasal swabs, and respiratory fluids,” said Dr. Jolene Bowers, a Post-Doctoral fellow in TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, TGen North, and the paper’s first author.

In 2015, Bowers co-led a study published in PLOS One, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which documented the rapid global spread of ST258.

According to the CDC, nearly 2 million Americans annually contract bacterial infections that are resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 23,000 die each year from such infections, nearly twice as many who die of AIDS.

“Improved testing technology holds great potential for the rapid detection of HAIs and more quickly identifying antibiotic-resistant infections, such as K. pneumoniae, which have become an urgent public health crisis,” said Bowers. “KlebSeq is a perfect example of the power of genomic-based analytical tools that deliver results faster, more accurately and at a lower cost.”

According to Dr. David Engelthaler, director of Programs and Operations for TGen North, and one of the authors of the study, transmission of multidrug-resistant strains of K. pneumoniae is rapid and without initial symptoms, leading to outbreaks in the healthcare system and the community that often go undetected.

“Early detection of K. pneumoniae in healthcare patients, especially those with multidrug-resistant strains, is critical to infection control,” said Dr. Engelthaler, who also is a former epidemiologist for the state of Arizona. “Perhaps most concerning is that Kleb acts like a shuttle for critical resistance genes, often transmitting them to other HAI species. It is important for us to detect both the bacteria and these critical genes.”

KlebSeq can be used for routine screening and surveillance, enabling healthcare staff to make more informed patient decisions, and curb outbreak situations by rapidly identifying transmissions prior patients showing signs of infection. Classifying the type of infection in each patient would help enable an institution to decide when and which intervention procedures to enact.

Study results suggest that KlebSeq would be especially helpful for high-risk patients — those in intensive-care units, centers specializing in bone marrow transplantation or chronically immunosuppressed patients, long-term care facilities, and travelers returning from endemic regions.

“The sensitivity of KlebSeq is superior to culture-based methods,” said Dr. Paul Keim, director of TGen North and the senior author of the study.

“KlebSeq is an important step toward a comprehensive, yet accessible, tool for all pathogen identification and characterization,” said Dr. Keim, who also is the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at Northern Arizona University, and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen).

The results also suggest that KlebSeq could be easily modified to detect other healthcare-acquired infectious agents, and identify those with antimicrobial resistance. It could also be used for outbreak detection, transmission mapping and tracing the source of infections by being able to screen hundreds of patient samples simultaneously, at a cost of tens of dollars per patient.

KlebSeq: A Diagnostic Tool for Surveillance, Detection, and Monitoring of Klebsiella pneumoniae, will be published in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Airborne Pathogen Monitoring System Provides Real Time Detection for Food Industry

Evergreen UV has officially launched the PathogenALERT RAPID Reader System (Rapid Airborne Pathogen Identification and Detection) to US food manufacturing organizations.  This system is today's best available technology for risk mitigation of airborne contaminates and pathogens for any food manufacturing, processing, distribution, or service facility.

"The RAPID Reader System automatically detects harmful airborne pathogen contaminants before visual growth occurs, providing valuable time to engage in corrective action before an outbreak occurs," stated Susan Skelton, co-owner of Evergreen UV LLC.

The RAPID Reader is an on-site microbial detection sensor that continually monitors facility air for the presence of airborne pathogens (bacteria, yeasts & molds), radically altering the present approach to pathogen detection and control.   The RAPID Reader eliminates the high expense and risk of current sampling methods that require long delays, chain-of-command controls and external laboratory analysis.  PathogenALERT will notify plant operators of airborne contamination within hours of occurrence, mitigating the high cost and high risk of releasing contaminated products into the marketplace and preventing the spread of the bacteria, yeast or mold to the rest of the facility…or into the public food chain.

PathogenALERT provides continuous on-site monitoring, significantly shortens contamination detection times to mere hours, and automates the pathogen sampling, monitoring and detection process.   RAPID Reader sensors draw an air sample into a pathogen-specific, nutrient-rich detection site engineered to determine the presence of microbial contamination.  Sensors connected to the cloud-based monitoring system send text and email alerts whenever…and wherever… contamination is detected.  A customized, cloud-based dashboard provides real-time reports that detail both current and historical risk levels using a similar format to traditional reporting techniques.

Current pathogen detection capabilities include Cronobacter Sakazaki, E-Coli, Listeria, Aspergillus, Staphylococcus Aureus, Legionella and Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.  PathogenALERT was originally developed in Dublin, Ireland, by Dr. Stephen Daniels, as a critical tool for the detection of chronobacter contamination in the Irish powdered milk industry. He states that reducing contamination risks and costs are a key benefit to users of PathogenALERT.  "Implementing the RAPID Reader has been shown to have a significant impact on the effective management of airborne pathogens, resulting in lower overall costs for detection, infection risks and remedial actions."

PathogenALERT technology is available in North America through an exclusive agreement between NuWave Sensors of Dublin Ireland, and Evergreen UV, LLC of Memphis, TN. Evergreen UV is also the parent company for Lumalier Air and Surface Disinfection Products, and for Disinfection Services LLC.

"The PathogenALERT RAPID Reader system is a great stand-alone detection tool," said Skelton. "Our clients are able to quickly detect pathogens on-site and on-time.  We can also bundle one or more RAPID Readers with advanced UVC disinfection technology to detect, alert, and destroy airborne pathogens before an outbreak occurs."