LexaGene Holdings Inc (CVE:LXG) (OTCMKTS:LXXGF) announced Tuesday the development of a test to detect the deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus on its LX technology platform.
The EEE virus can be transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and has recently caused fatal infections in Michigan, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the company said in a statement.
The virus is particularly serious for both children and the elderly and can lead to death in approximately 30% of infected individuals.
Northeastern states typically test in excess of 15,000 samples per year for EEE. This year, Massachusetts state testing labs alone have processed thousands of samples of which more than 400 mosquito samples were found to be positive for the presence of EEE virus.
Previously, LexaGene’s technology was only able to detect DNA-based pathogens.
Now the company said it has modified the analyzer to also detect pathogens that have RNA-based genomes. Examples of pathogens that have RNA-based genomes include EEE and other mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile, Chikungunya and Zika viruses, as well as other deadly pathogens such as influenza and Ebola.
Another benefit of the LX Analyzer, the Massachusetts-based company said, is its ability to screen for multiple pathogens at once, which is critical for carrying out successful screening programs of mosquito populations for vector-borne viruses.
“Testing mosquitoes for the presence of human pathogens is an integral part of surveillance activities. We have now used our LX Analyzer to successfully amplify the EEE virus sequence from mosquito RNA samples spiked with EEE RNA,” said CEO Dr Jack Regan.
“Our technology is automated and designed to reduce hands-on processing time, which is a benefit to molecular testing laboratories. We are pursuing this work to demonstrate that LexaGene’s technology can be part of the solution for bolstering surveillance efforts intended to determine when mosquito abatement programs should be started to minimize the number of human cases.”
LexaGene said it welcomes members of the public, including businesses and testing laboratories, to send mosquitoes to their laboratory for testing.
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