In Phase I development of the virus detection system, which utilizes PositiveID’s licensed Receptors’ CARA (Combinatorial Artificial Receptor Array) platform, PositiveID successfully achieved proof-of-concept. CARA support and complementary competitor agents were developed to detect the presence of influenza in a model nasal wash matrix.

Using multiplexed specificity, the goal of Phase II is to classify the sub-type of influenza that is present in a sample, such as H3N2 (seasonal flu), H1N1 (swine flu). Rapid sub-type classification of influenza strains at the point of care will allow for improved treatment, thereby discouraging antibiotic overuse, preventing central lab overloading and improving overall health outcomes.

The rapid virus sub-type test will also give an early warning of the rise of new sub-types of influenza so that containment measures can be implemented and pandemic proportions can be avoided.

Scott Silverman, chairman and CEO of PositiveID, said: “To our knowledge, there is currently no point-of-care, rapid influenza test available to healthcare professionals and their patients that provides for a specific and rapid in-office flu sub-type diagnosis. Existing point-of-care influenza tests do not provide sub-type identification, which requires a polymerase chain reaction test or culture approach that takes days to yield results.

“The current rapid flu tests only provide a yes/no answer to the presence of influenza A or influenza B, but do not inform the healthcare professional what sub-type of flu is present. We believe our system will not only sub-type classify known flu strains and help direct the course of treatment, but also identify evolving strains, giving this system value for today’s known strains but also for future strains and how to contain them.”