MicroPhage (Longmont) aims to become a worldwide leader in rapid bacterial diagnostics, both identification and antibiotic susceptibility & resistance testing, through its bacteriophage-based amplification platform for immunoassay diagnostics. The lead Dx products expected in late 2008 are for the identification of methicillin-resitant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Follow-on Dx products for additional bacterial pathogens may include: Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
So how does it work?
Bacteriophage selectively infect targeted bacteria and rapidly multiply. The system can generate as much as a 5-log amplification of signal. This allows for reduced incubation times, resulting in complete assay times of one to four hours compared with traditional culture assays of twenty-four or more hours. The system represents a novel approach to non-PCR-based amplification and identification of pathogens. Specific bacteriophages are used on the processed sample, infecting only their targets and thus provide a very selective method for bacterial identification. Phage multiply very rapidly (versus the replication time of bacteria) within their target bacteria, producing tens to thousands of progeny phage that are released partially due to pressure increases from within the cell or due to a singular cellular burst event. The increase in concentration of the bacteriophage due to the presence of the target bacteria signals its presence.
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