New system can detect hundreds of viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens within hours.

Abbott obtained a European CE Mark for its PLEX-ID™ microbial identification platform and three assays. PLEX-ID combines PCR technology and mass spectrometry, and has been developed to enable the identification and characterization of broad groups of organisms without having to focus on each individual microbe. Results are generated in under eight hours, negating the need to wait days or weeks for culture results. The system has been developed on the back of Abbott’s acquisition of Ibis Biosciences in 2009.  

The three CE-marked assays are PLEX-ID Viral IC Spectrum, PLEX-ID BAC Spectrum BC, and PLEX-ID Flu. The Viral IC Spectrum assay is designed to detect and identify 11 viral families including over 250 species of systemic viral pathogens including herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, human adenovirus, human enterovirus, BK and JC polyomaviruses, and parvovirus B19, directly from plasma samples. The BAC Spectrum BC assay is carried out on blood culture-positive specimens, detects and identifies nearly 400 bacterial species, plus additional Candida species, and also flags the presence of genetic markers characteristic of bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Abbott says it plans to introduce a modified version of the assay in Europe later this year which can be used directly on a patient’s blood sample without the need for culturing. PLEX-ID Flu detects and identifies known and newly emerging influenza A strains and influenza B.

“The introduction of the PLEX-ID provides physicians and laboratories a revolutionary new platform for the etiologic identification of a wide variety of pathogens in patients,” states Murthy Simhambhatla, Ph.D., head of Abbott’s Ibis Biosciences business. “PLEX-ID is the only available diagnostic technology that is capable of identifying a wide range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and certain parasites in hours.” 

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