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NIAID Awards $5.3 Million to Seattle Children’s Research Institute in Conjunction with Micronics for Development of Global Surveillance of Influenza Strains at Point-of-Care

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April 15, 2014

Tim Rose, PhD, co-director of the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, in partnership with Micronics, Inc., has been awarded a $5.3 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Seattle Children’s Research Institute today announced  that Tim Rose, PhD, co-director of the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, in partnership with Micronics, Inc., a medical device development  company in  Redmond, Wash., has been awarded a $5.3 million five-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a highly accurate and easy-to-use point-of-care diagnostic tool and global surveillance system to be used to identify and track current and new strains of influenza viruses faster and more cost effectively than current technologies.

The partnership integrates Rose’s novel Consensus-Degenerate Hybrid Oligonucleotide Primer (CODEHOP) detection methodology, with Micronics’ PanNAT system, a proprietary molecular diagnostic system.  The CODEHOP technology provides a highly sensitive method to detect low levels of virus while preserving the ability to detect unknown and mutated members of a virus family. The teams will collaborate to develop new tests based on CODEHOP that can be processed by the PanNAT system for use in identifying causes of respiratory infection. Together, the technologies are expected to provide a quick diagnosis at point-of-care, when individuals are first evaluated for infection.

Recent outbreaks of virus strains, like the 2009 pandemic H1N1 swine influenza and the highly-pathogenic  H7N9 avian influenza, highlight the importance and need for developing a system for quick diagnosis and monitoring of respiratory and other viruses. Current approaches used to monitor and detect viruses rely on tests that are designed to detect known circulating viruses. The combined Seattle Children’s Research Institute - Micronics team will develop tests to detect both known and unknown viruses and identify strain-specific disease signatures that can be used for monitoring influenza outbreaks. Once a signature is identified for a newly emerging influenza strain, the system will be useful in helping to track the spread of the virus. These technologies will help disease surveillance organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more quickly map the origin and spread of outbreaks and develop plans to contain potential pandemics.  

“We hope that by integrating CODEHOP-based tests on a point-of-care platform we can improve monitoring of the spread of existing influenza strains and detect new viruses coming into the population from human and non-human sources, ” said Rose. “Our goal is to decrease the time required to identify new influenza virus infections and improve the way we monitor and respond to virus outbreaks, allowing public health measures to be quickly enacted, potentially saving thousands of lives.” 

In partnership with Janet Englund, MD, of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Rose and his colleagues will use virus samples from Seattle Children’s to test the effectiveness of the diagnostic system.

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About Micronics, Inc.

Micronics, Inc., a leader in vitro diagnostics, is part of Sony’s medical business, which leverages Sony’s technologies in sensors, monitors and consumer-centric product design.  It is developing a new generation of near-patient, point-of-care tests to diagnose disease and provide accurate and actionable results in minutes.  Micronics is noted for its ability to refine medical tests so the volume of fluids used (both reagents and biological samples) is reduced.  The company is headquartered in Redmond, Wash.

About Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/research.

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