Nanotrope, Inc. announced today that it has been issued United States patent #7,829,272 covering its ground-breaking diagnostic test for influenza and other viral infections.
The patent describes Nanotrope's cellular mimic technology that creates an artificial "cell" engineered with specific membrane compositions and surface receptors which stimulate the virus into infecting the mimic as it would a normal host cell. Once the cell mimic is infected, viral genome sequences are detected by multi-color fluorescence providing both viral typing and sub-typing capabilities. The sensitivity of the test is comparable to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) detection limits but in a faster, less expensive and simpler format.
The Nanotrope assay may be used to identify any envelope virus, a class of viruses that includes such important infectious disease targets as influenza where the assay can distinguish between seasonal, swine, and pandemic flu strains, RSV, a serious lung disease in young children, West Nile virus, SARS, measles, and rabies. For contagious viral infections, it is important to identify the virus early in the course of the infection so that sick patients may be isolated and properly treated. The high sensitivity, short time to result, and sub-typing capability of the new assay makes it well-suited for hospital and clinical labs where the time to diagnosis is important, as well as for global surveillance for vaccine development.