Scientists racing against time to deliver swine flu test

May 2nd, 2009 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 2 (IANS) A team of genetic experts are racing against time to produce the world’s first DNA test for the Mexican strain of swine flu that has led to scores of deaths and global panic.
Primer Design, a University of Southampton company specializes in producing high-tech DNA detection kits. The technology detects results faster and more accurately than traditional diagnosis techniques.

Staff at the Primer Design lab realized they were ideally positioned to create the first DNA swine flu test when the US Centre for Disease Control published the genetic data for the killer virus this week.

Coordinator of the swine flu DNA project, Rob Powell said, “with the release of the unique genetic code for this dangerous virus strain we’re able to develop the ultimate diagnosis tool within the next few days.”

“At Primer Design we’re able to produce synthetic DNA that matches the virus exactly, without ever having to come into contact with the flu itself. The test can identify the presence of swine flu within two hours.”

The high-tech production methods of the kits mean that the Southampton team could very quickly produce enough test kits for hospitals across Europe if needed. The kits will be fully developed and ready to go within two weeks, said a University of Southampton release.

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