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xTAG Viral Panel Tests 12 Viruses In One Sample

The US Food and Drug Administration cleared the xTAG Respiratory Virus Panel, which simultaneously tests for 12 specific respiratory viruses. xTAG is the first test for the detection and differentiation of influenza A subtypes H1 and H3. Influenza A is the most severe form of influenza for humans, and has been the cause of major epidemics. The new panel is also the first test for human metapneumovirus (hMPV), newly identified in 2001.

The xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel amplifies viral genetic material found in secretions taken from the back of the throat in patients with possible respiratory tract infections. In the test, specific beads, or microspheres, bind to the amplified viral genetic material. The beads are then sorted so that the specific virus can be identified.

"Nucleic acid tests such as the xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel utilize small amounts of genetic material, and then replicate it many times," said Daniel G. Schultz, M.D., director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

"This speeds up the usual process of detecting and identifying respiratory viruses, which can take up to a week," said Schultz. "And, because this multiplex viral panel tests for 12 viruses at once, it uses less of a patient's test specimen."

Luminex Molecular Diagnostics explains it diagramatically:


(xTag test panel methodology)

This device shows we are getting closer to science-fictional devices like the Boink biosensor from The Cobra Event, a 1997 novel by Richard Preston. Readers may also be familiar with the WAGD germ detector from Greg Bear's Quantico:

...She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a WAGD, hiding most of it in her palm and up her sleeve, then swiftly uncapped it ... and ran the moist gel tip along the inside... She capped and pocketed the device...
(Read more about the WAGD germ detector)

Via FDA Clears First Test Designed to Detect and Identify 12 Respiratory Viruses from Single Sample and the company website at Luminex xTAG website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/8/2008)

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