(Nasdaq:CBMX) announced today that it has updated its Influenza-Detection
Microarray to include sequence information of the latest strain of Swine Flu.
The previous version of the Influenza-Detection Microarray already detected
many strains of Swine Flu as well as the pathogenic Bird Flu. Today, within
one day of receiving sequence information of the new strain, CombiMatrix has
updated the array to definitively identify this strain.
On Sunday, April 26, 2009, the United States declared a public health emergency
because of the spread and virulence of the latest strain of Swine Flu. According
to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Tuesday,
April 28th, there were 64 confirmed cases of Swine Flu infection in the U.S.
Various other countries are also reporting cases of Swine Flu infection. For
example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of Swine
Flu infections has been rising in Mexico and, as of April 23rd, there were more
than 854 cases of pneumonia in Mexico City attributed to influenza-like infections
of which 59 have resulted in fatalities. Because this virus has an origin in
animals, it is spreading rapidly, and is affecting and resulting in fatalities
among young, previously healthy people. As a result, the WHO feels that there
is significant cause for concern. In response, CombiMatrix has contacted the
Secretariat of Health in Mexico.
CombiMatrix's Influenza-Detection System provides very-high-resolution genotype
information on any given flu strain, as well as information on novel strains
of flu produced by rapid mutation or recombination between multiple strains.
The current Swine Flu is a novel strain of influenza A, subtype H1N1. Other
strains of influenza A include pathogenic Bird Flu (H5N1); the 1918 influenza
pandemic (H1N1), which killed an estimated 50 million people; the 1968 Hong
Kong Flu (H3N2), which caused a pandemic; and the 1976 Swine Flu (H1N1). CombiMatrix's
Influenza Microarray can detect and distinguish each of these strains, as well
as all other circulating subtypes and strains of Influenza A. Most importantly,
as demonstrated by today's news, the array can be updated almost instantaneously.
Several domestic and international government agencies have purchased CombiMatrix's
system and can use the Influenza Microarray. CombiMatrix is already preparing
arrays to be sent to such agencies for use.
"This past Sunday, the U.S. declared a public health emergency. Today,
CombiMatrix has updated arrays in response. Rapid response and accurate information
are the absolute key criteria when dealing with viruses such as influenza,"
said Dr. Amit Kumar, President and CEO of CombiMatrix. "CombiMatrix's platform
is ideal for the rapid development of new tools to rapidly identify emerging
diseases. In this case, we have again demonstrated the strength of our technology
in taking the most up-to-date genetic information and incorporating it into
an array that can be used for research, disease surveillance, and diagnostics."
CombiMatrix Corporation is a diversified biotechnology business that develops
proprietary technologies, including products and services in the areas of drug
development, genetic analysis, molecular diagnostics, nanotechnology and defense
and homeland security markets, as well as in other potential markets where our
products and services could be utilized. The technologies we have developed
include a platform technology to rapidly produce user-defined, in-situ synthesized,
oligonucleotide arrays for use in identifying and determining the roles of genes,
gene mutations and proteins. This technology has a wide range of potential applications
in the areas of genomics, proteomics, biosensors, drug discovery, drug development,
diagnostics, combinatorial chemistry, material sciences and nanotechnology.
Other technologies include proprietary molecular synthesis and screening methods
for the discovery of potential new drugs. Combimatrix Molecular Diagnostics,
Inc. ("CMDX"), our wholly owned subsidiary located in Irvine, California,
has developed capabilities of producing arrays that utilize bacterial artificial
chromosomes, which also enable genetic analysis. CMDX functions primarily as
a diagnostics reference laboratory.