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Abbott's Ibis Technology Identified Fatal Disease Organism in Afghanistan

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 11:33am
Bio-Medicine.Org

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, at the American Society for Microbiology Conference on Biodefense and Emerging Diseases, scientists from Abbott Molecular presented data showing the unique power of the company's Ibis technology to identify and further characterize unknown disease-causing pathogens to help aid in the bioforensic analysis of pandemic outbreaks.  

In a presentation at the conference, Tim Motley, principal scientist, Ibis Biosciences, a subsidiary of Abbott (NYSE: ABT), reported on genotypic characterization of Yersina pestis after a severe outbreak of an unknown disease in Afghanistan's Nimorz Province in December 2007.  Eighty-three people experienced severe fever, vomiting and diarrhea, and 17 died.  All had consumed camel meat.  Due to the gastrointestinal symptoms and disease severity, anthrax was suspected.

Blood from a patient sample and several camel tissue specimens were analyzed using the Ibis T5000 biosensor, a precursor to the PLEX-ID™ system developed and marketed by Abbott.  The analysis showed both the blood and camel tissue specimens tested positive for Yersina pestis, the causative agent for plague.  This was the first reported case of plague in Afghanistan.  Other test methods, including culture, had failed to identify the causative organism.  

"With the PLEX-ID technology, we were able to genetically characterize the strain, identify its unique genetic structure and develop a microbial forensic marker that could be used to identify this strain should future outbreaks occur," said Motley.  He added that the ability of PLEX-ID to combine polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry allows laboratories to identify an unknown organism and determine its specific genotype.

Motley explained that the Afghanistan case show

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