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Electronics Production | January 24, 2006

ST collaborates with Veredus Laboratories on bird flu chip

STMicroelectronics and Veredus Laboratories announced that they are developing a fast, point-of-need diagnostic capability that will enable health practitioners to quickly detect strains of Avian Flu and other influenza viruses.
The diagnostic capability, which uses reliable and inexpensive equipment, produces results within approximately one hour of testing.

Using STMicroelectronics' well-characterized In-Check ™platform, Veredus is developing an application to specifically identify whether a patient is infected with the Avian Flu (H5N1) or a subtype of Influenza A or B in a single test, instead of requiring many tests, as needed currently. To be available in time for the next flu season, the single-test application will be a substantial breakthrough in enabling rapid identification of the infectious agent to limit the spread of the disease and speed patients' treatment.

The diagnostic effort is being built on STMicroelectronics' In-Check platform, a complete laboratory on a chip. The platform allows users to accurately and reliably perform the complex processing and analysis of a minute sample on a single disposable chip, dramatically reducing the time and complexity of the instrumentation needed. In addition, this self-contained lab-on-chip approach reduces the risk of cross-contamination inherent in conventional analysis methods. Results are detected by a dedicated portable reader using optical signal acquisition and processed by ST's specialized bioinformatics software, which can be installed on any PC.

“The World Health Organization recently identified rapid detection as the first requirement in fighting Avian flu, and ST's leading-edge semiconductor expertise--combined with Veredus' expertise in Avian Flu detection--will enable new possibilities for effective timely detection and treatment so that early containment of the infection will be possible,” said Anton Hofmeister, Group Vice-President and General Manager for ST's Microfluidic Division. “We are convinced that affordable, user-friendly, and portable devices like In-Check will make a critical difference in a growing number of diagnostic applications.”

“In light of the risk of a worldwide flu pandemic, and to limit its potential global impact, we aim to provide health-care professionals with the capability to quickly differentiate Avian Flu or severe flu strains from milder strains by their subtypes,” added Dr. Rosemary Tan, CEO of Veredus. “In-Check is ideally suited to serve as a platform on which to build Veredus' unique infectious disease panels. This combination will enable rapid diagnosis and the delivery of appropriate treatments for patients in the shortest time possible. We are actively developing chips to detect Dengue, Malaria, West Nile, Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and other diseases and anticipate that our products will greatly improve treatment choices.”

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