CDC Unveils the FluChip

By Stacy Lawrence  |  Posted 2006-08-30 Print this article Print

The new microarray can be used to distinguish between influenza types and help to trace back the origins of a given strain, including the avian flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a microchip-based test that distinguishes between flu strains and can even help trace the strains back to their origins.

The FluChip can be used to identify 72 influenza strains—including the H5N1 avian influenza strain that is currently of such concern—in fewer than 12 hours.

This technology can be used to make sophisticated influenza diagnostic capabilities more widely available to labs around the globe, not just concentrated with the CDC and a few major international laboratories.

"The ability to quickly and accurately identify strains of influenza would be invaluable to international flu surveillance efforts," said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci.

The FluChip is a microarray, commonly called a gene chip. Microarrays can be made by using a robotic arm to drop hundreds or thousands of spots of genetic material—DNA or RNA—of known sequence onto a microscope slide.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: CDC Unveils the FluChip

Stacy Lawrence is co-editor of CIOInsight.com's Health Care Center. Lawrence has covered IT and the life sciences for various publications, including Business 2.0, Red Herring, The Industry Standard and Nature Biotechnology. Before becoming a journalist, Lawrence attended New York University and continued on in the sociology doctoral program at UC Berkeley.

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