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New 'GreeneChip' identifies multiple pathogens rapidly and accurately

Rapid and accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases helps public health officials manage disease outbreaks and enables health care providers to prescribe the correct treatment early on. Many different pathogens, notably those that cause emerging infectious diseases, have no distinctive symptoms. This makes diagnosis difficult, particularly in the early stages of infection when interventional strategies are optimal. An international group of researchers has recently developed a new technology for pinpointing pathogens.

Called the GreeneChip, this device consists of a glass slide onto which are attached nearly 30,000 pieces of genetic material taken from thousands of different viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. When human fluid and tissue samples are applied to the chip, these probes will stick to any closely related genetic material in the samples. This allows the rapid and specific identification of any pathogens thereineven those related to but genetically distinct from the ones represented on the chip.

In a new paper this week, the researchers describe the first successful tests of the technology, which include detecting a previously undiagnosed fatal case of malaria that occurred during an outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in Angola in 2004-2005. This technology may improve the capacity for emerging infectious diseases surveillance and outbreak response.


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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
7-Dec-2006


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