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GEN News Highlights : Dec 19, 2006

Quidel Licenses MChip from University of Colorado

Molecular test has application in pandemic surveillance.

Quidel gained an exclusive, worldwide license to the MChip microarray-based influenza detection technology developed by scientists at the University of Colorado (CU) in close collaboration with the CDC. Quidel’s expects to develop and market molecular-based diagnostic tests featuring the MChip for use in pandemic surveillance as a tool for the clinical laboratory and at the point-of-care in the physician office laboratory.

The MChip offers several advantages over current molecular-based arrays for the detection of influenza viruses, according to the company. While the majority of molecular-based arrays use sequences from three influenza genes—hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), and matrix (M)—the MChip exclusively exploits sequences from the matrix genes. Unlike HA and NA, which mutate constantly, the M gene segment is more conserved. A diagnostic test based on this relatively stable gene segment should be more robust because it will continue to provide accurate results even as the HA and NA genes mutate and will require less frequent reconfiguration.

In addition, current molecular tests provide only information about the type of virus present in a single sample (i.e., Influenza type A or Influenza type B). The MChip offers the advantage of simultaneously typing and subtyping the flu virus in a single procedure (for example, Influenza type A, subtype H5N1).