Los Alamos: Future of Biodetection Systems -- Pandemic Influenza H5N1 Discussion

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Leaders call for the global communicable disease architecture to be strengthened by access to affordable, field-validated molecular diagnostic technologies for the medical, veterinary and lab level in every UN member country.

Pathobiologics International Report: http://www.pathobiologics.org/btac/lanl/bioscience

(PRWEB) October 13, 2006 -- The recent workshop "Future of Biodetection Systems" hosted by the International Technologies Program Office and Bioscience Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory on September 26 and 27 in Sante Fe, New Mexico, has provided a valuable platform for current discussions associated with R&D initiatives in sampling technologies, DNA-based detection technologies, transducers, spectroscopy based technologies and systems integration. Speakers included:

DNA Based Detection Technologies:

Stephen M. Apatow,

Humanitarian University Consortium

Ligand Based Technologies:

Brian Kay, University of Illinois, Chicago

Transduction Systems:

Larry Sklar, University of New Mexico

Biodetection Sampling Systems:

Gary W. Long, Tetracore Inc.

Spectroscopy Systems:

Luis Garcia-Rubio, University of South Florida

Systems Integration:

David Cullin, ICX Technologies

During the presentation "DNA Based Detection Technologies," the focus was molecular detection technologies that are currently in use to provide actionable public health and animal health information. Two key reference papers included:

1. Diagnostic System for Rapid and Sensitive Differential Detection of Pathogens: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) platform identifies up to 22 respiratory pathogens including respiratory syncytial virus, human parainfluenza virus, SARS coronavirus, adenovirus, enterovirus, metapneumovirus, and influenza virus in a single Mass Tag PCR reaction. Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 11, No. 2, February 2005.

2. Use of Oligonucleotide Microarrays for Rapid Detection and Serotyping of Acute Respiratory Disease-Associated Adenoviruses: Real-Time PCR combined with microarray technology provides rapid detection of adenoviruses (51 serotypes, six subgroups A to F) to aid in controlling viral transmission and adenovirus-associated respiratory disease within military training facilities. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, July 2004, p. 3232-3239, Vol. 42, No. 7

An immediate need was presented for WHO/OIE approval of field validated molecular detection technologies, that are utilized every day to protect U.S. soldiers and NATO troops, from common pathogens, biological weapons agents and foreign animal/zoonotic diseases, according to standard methodologies, on uniform diseases with quality-controlled standardized reagents (including multiplex tests and microarray).

Defense level field validation of molecular detection technologies need to be reviewed as a reference point for civilian applications. Scenarios that limit the use of these technologies (such as 11 year periods for U.S. FDA licensing), need to be addressed in the light of current threats to international public health.

According to the Reuter's report "Swiss measures aim to protect flocks from bird flu" (29 September 2006):

In Switzerland, for six months from October 15, free-range chickens will be banned within one kilometre of 21 major lakes and rivers, where wild birds infected with the H5N1 virus might stop to rest or drink, it said. "Within these regions...free-range poultry will be banned as well as poultry markets and exhibitions," the Swiss economy ministry said in a statement.

In conjunction with the capacity for a new human transmissible pandemic strain to spread worldwide in a 24-48 hour period via air travel, this year's migratory bird spread of H5N1 includes concerns associated with Oseltamivir resistance and low pathogenic strains that present a threat to humans (due to the widespread use of substandard vaccines on animal populations in numerous global regions). It is clear that our capacity to rapidly sequence pathogens such as H5N1 or pandemic strains that originated from H5N1 (H1, H2, H3, H7, H9 subtypes) and bioinformatics level comparative analysis via a functional international epidemiological surveillance and reporting system is crucial.

Humanitarian Resource Institute will disseminate the final report from the Los Alamos Bioscience Division, upon it's completion.

Stephen M. Apatow, President and Director of Research and Development, of the nonprofit organization Humanitarian Resource Institute, is a specialist in strategic planning and project development of initiatives associated with human medicine, veterinary medicine and U.S. and international law. Current programs include the internet based Biodefense Reference Library, Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Center, Bioinformatics: Pathobiological Diagnostics Center and Biodefense Legal Reference Library. Educational resource development for the veterinary and medical community include the Foreign Animal Disease Online Course and the Zoonotic Disease Online Review. To enhance collaboration between Humanitarian Resource Institute and the international community of scholars, the Humanitarian University Consortium was formed to enhance the development of initiatives associated with economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues worldwide. In 2004, Pathobiologics International was formed as the Consulting Arm of Humanitarian Resource Institute and the Humanitarian University Consortium.

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