Acacia Research Corporation announced today that its CombiMatrix group has made commercially available the first microarray designed for the H5N1 "Bird Flu" influenza A virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) appealed Tuesday, Jan. 27th for technical assistance and expert advice to help stop the threat to humans and agriculture posed by this virus. CombiMatrix utilized its proprietary probe-design software and ability to rapidly synthesize novel DNA microarrays to respond within two days.
CombiMatrix's microarray allows for the identification of the H5N1 virus, and importantly, also allows the tracking of mutations that can occur in its genetic makeup as it goes through patterns of bird and human infection.
Bird Flu is a member of the influenza A virus family, the same family responsible for the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed 20-40 million people. According to Dr. Amit Kumar, President and CEO of CombiMatrix, "Mutations in the genetic makeup of this family of influenza viruses have in the past greatly affected infectiousness and lethality of individual strains. Our microarray, with its ability to help track such mutations, may be of assistance in dealing with this virus and its impact upon public health. Similar to our efforts with the SARS virus, this new array demonstrates our ability to rapidly respond to emerging diseases."