Invitrogen and Agilent have entered into an agreement to co-market an infectious agent detection system, which has shown to be sensitive and specific for the identification of air and waterborne pathogens.
The PathAlert Detection System, a screening and confirmatory detection system for infectious agents, has undergone evaluations by the US Department of Defence and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The system can be used by government, military and research organisations for accurate detection of infectious agents such as Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Yersinia pestis (plague), Vaccinia (smallpox simulant) and Francisella tularensis (tularaemia) in samples collected from the air, food and water.
The PathAlert System also provides less costly capabilities to detect anthrax, plague, smallpox simulant and tularaemia. The PathAlert System also offers the unique capability of multi-agent analysis in a single assay based on the biothreat agents of interest in a specific matrix, such as water, food or animal feed.
According to the EPA assessment, the system accurately detected infectious agents such as anthrax and plague in drinking water with no false positives or false negatives at expected sensitivity levels.
"Biological agents represent a grave potential threat to public safety, and it is imperative that the life sciences industry provides government agencies with the tools they need to detect and neutralise these threats in a timely and effective way," commented Gregory Lucier, president and CEO of Invitrogen.
Under the terms of the agreement, The PathAlert System, which features Invitrogen's PathAlert Detection Kits and the Agilent 2100 bioanalyser or 5100 Automated Lab-on-a-Chip Platform, will be distributed by Invitrogen. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The application of our advanced sensitive and specific PCR assays to Agilent's versatile lab-on-a-chip platform provides scientists with an efficient method of identifying biological threats to public safety," said Willem Folkerts, director of Invitrogen's Biodefense business.
Each PathAlert Detection Kit is a reagent system optimised for the detection of a specific infectious agent. Based on multiplex-PCR, the kits detect multiple regions of pathogen DNA and include internal and external controls, greatly reducing false positive and false negative readings.
Using the PathAlert multiplex-PCR kits with the Agilent 2100 bioanalyser and DNA chip and reagent kits, users can monitor DNA targets and controls simultaneously without the constraints imposed by conventional real-time PCR. Agilent's 5100 Automated Lab-on-a-Chip Platform can be used for biodefence applications requiring high-throughput analysis.