On Track to Find the EHEC Pathogen

Analytik Jena AG develops an EHEC rapid test for mobile use

23-Jun-2011 - Germany

The current outbreak of EHEC infections in Germany and the resulting deaths and serious diseases clearly show how important it is to be able to diagnose pathogenic microorganisms quickly. The current EHEC epidemic has also already caused huge economic damage.

Due to the continuing topicality of EHEC, Analytik Jena has also carried out research into a rapid on-site diagnostics system. Such a test has been developed within the last two weeks. It is designed to be a pre-screening test and can identify the specific molecules of all EHEC O104 strains. The currently circulating highly pathogenic EHEC O104:H4 is one of these strains.

“After the EHEC pathogen proved to be much more difficult to narrow down than initial results had suggested, we worked hard to develop a rapid test,” explains Klaus Berka, CEO of Analytik Jena AG. “Given the particular extent of the current EHEC epidemic, it is important to know as quickly as possible whether food is contaminated. This may also make a significant contribution to clarifying the infection source.”

The innovative procedure that forms the basis of the test that has been developed, known as Rapid-Amplification-Hybridization (RAH) technology, combines amplification of the target nucleic acid with a specific hybridization reaction. The reactions take place in a reaction vessel. The simple visual result identification takes place on a test strip and therefore without expensive equipment. The test can be carried out in any molecular diagnostic laboratory and is available immediately. The test was also designed for mobile on-site use. The basis for this is the “MobiLab,” developed by Analytik Jena AG. The MobiLab makes it possible to carry out all molecular diagnostics steps (nucleic acid isolation, target amplification and target detection) under field conditions. DNA or RNA isolation can also be performed easily and robustly under field conditions using battery operation.

Analytik Jena is already working on further rapid tests to specify current highly pathogenic EHEC strains.

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