Rapid detection of influenza and other viral infections
Iceni Diagnostics is developing a new approach to disease detection that identifies the virus not by its genetic code – which can mutate – but by using its reliance on chains of sugars which are constant and unchangeable. The existing prototype product for influenza can detect the virus in less than 20 minutes and could be adapted to identify other pathogens such as Coronavirus.
Rapid testing in the field
Iceni Diagnostics is developing a fast, effective flu diagnostic that provides a yes/no indication of flu presence within just 20 minutes; allowing immediate treatment or quarantine of affected animals.
The quick and easy test uses a lateral flow technique similar to a home pregnancy test. It enables someone with minimal training to screen animals ahead of movement.
The first product is aimed at equine flu, which devastated the horse racing industry last year, but the technology is equally applicable to avian or human flu or other novel pathogens.
There is currently no rapid flu test for use in the field. Current flu diagnostics are based upon either protein or DNA detection in a laboratory.
Due to viral mutation the tests have a short lifetime and limitations in terms of cost, speed, and equipment required. By comparison, the new test from Iceni Diagnostics is based upon chains of sugars, called Glycans, which are both stable and immutable, offering a new approach for diagnostics.
Glycans are used for communication by cells in the body, but they are also used by 90% of bacteria and viruses, during the infection process. Iceni Diagnostics are specialists in synthesising glycans, to match those used in the body.
The new flu diagnostic uses these glycans as hooks to trap and reveal the virus, but they could also be used for a variety of other purposes including as vaccines or treatments for bacterial diseases and as immune-boosting nutraceuticals.
Iceni Diagnostics was established in 2014 by Professor Rob Field, a world expert in glycan science and Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, and President of the Chemistry Biology Interface Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Professor David Russell CSO, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at UEA and founder of Intelligent Fingerprinting.
Iceni Diagnostics is currently in an investment round to support the validation and roll out the commercial launch of its initial product portfolio. It is also looking at additional funds from EU and BARDA.
In an industry dominated by protein/DNA technology the glycan-based platform offers opportunities for the development of novel medicines and tests. Interested parties are invited to contact Iceni Diagnostics directly at www.icenidiagnostics.com