US-based GenArraytion has introduced new polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based molecular test to detect Zika virus, a fever-causing disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Zika virus test works with an existing GenArraytion Multiflex bioassay panel, which targets viruses that cause dengue fever, yellow fever and Chikungunya.
The Aedes Aegypti bioassay test is said to target four genetic regions of the Zika virus, which will reduce the possibility of viral mutations that are expected to enable the virus to escape detection.
The Zika virus test, along with other Multiflex molecular assays, allows health officials to identify infectious diseases in panels with up to 20 genetic markers for fever-causing and vector-borne disease organisms of concern.
GenArraytion CEO Dr Paul Schaudies said: "The Zika virus has the potential to become a serious epidemic, with as many four million people risking exposure in the next year if the mosquito population isn’t controlled, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
"GenArraytion’s test directly identifies the virus, thereby making it easier for public health officials to rapidly pinpoint sources of infection and to eradicate infected mosquito populations."
According to the company, the Zika tests are currently available as research use only (RUO) tools, which can be used to monitor mosquito populations and identify the presence of harmful pathogens for targeted mosquito eradication.
The firm has developed its tests to work on bead-based endpoint instruments and real-time PCR platforms.
Image: Aedes aegypti, a mosquito vector of Zika virus. Photo: courtesy of Rafaelgilo.