Abbott Introduces Vector-borne Pathogen Test to Detect Microorganisms Carried by Ticks and Other Insects
Date: August 10, 2011
Abbott Park, Illinois (NYSE: ABT) — Abbott’s Ibis Biosciences today introduced a new molecular assay to detect a wide variety of vector-borne microorganisms, including those known to cause Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. Vector-borne pathogens are microorganisms that are typically transmitted by arthropods such as ticks, mosquitoes or fleas.
The PLEX-ID™ Vector-borne test, which is intended for non-diagnostic use, has been designed to support bioresearch, environmental surveillance, and other activities central to the detection and identification of vector-borne pathogens.
"The PLEX-ID Vector-borne test is a single broad-range molecular assay that can detect a wide array of microorganisms and mixtures of microorganisms in a single specimen," said Mark Eshoo, Ph.D., director, New Technology Development, Ibis Biosciences. "The test can identify protozoa, bacteria, and nematodes, in a wide range of specimen types, including ticks, fleas, blood or tissue."
Dr. Eshoo led a study in which vector-borne disease surveillance researchers in New York and Connecticut collected 299 blacklegged ticks. The ticks were analyzed using the Ibis technology for a wide range of vector-borne microorganisms. Results showed that two-thirds of the ticks were infected with B. burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, and a third of these positive ticks contained other tick-borne co-infections such as Babesia microti or Anaplasma phagocytophilum. The research demonstrated that the Ibis technology can detect and identify B. burgdorferi as well as co-infection in ticks with other vector-borne pathogens quicker than traditional lab methods.
Currently intended for non-diagnostic use, PLEX-ID is the only high-throughput technology that offers rapid and broad identification, detailed genotyping and characterization, and recognition of emerging organisms. The system employs a combination of molecular technologies, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for gene amplification and mass spectrometry analysis to rapidly characterize known and unknown organisms. It is designed to address a significant unmet need by providing test results in less than eight hours instead of three or more days required with blood and tissue culture-based methods.
PLEX-ID is designed to identify a broad range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, certain parasites, and also provide information about drug resistance, virulence, and strain type. Anticipated public health and biodefense applications include epidemiologic research and identification of emerging or previously unknown agents. In addition, the system is being used for forensic characterization of human samples.
In 2009, PLEX-ID was recognized by both The Scientist and the Wall Street Journal as a top scientific innovation of the year. The Scientist honored the system because it can detect and characterize a broad range of microorganisms in any given sample. Since its development in 2005, PLEX-ID technology has been deployed in sites around the United States, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
About Ibis Biosciences
Ibis Biosciences was acquired by Abbott in January 2009 with the focus to deliver an innovative approach to the detection and characterization of a broad array of microorganisms and to contribute to Abbott’s expanding role in molecular testing. This acquisition led to the development of the PLEX-ID system that was designed to address the issues and challenges of traditional technology used in microbial identification in a single system.
Abbott (NYSE: ABT) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.