LEE'S SUMMIT, MO. - June 9, 2010 - Viracor-IBT Laboratories today announced the launch of the Aspergillus PCR Panel, a collection of three new tests that will assist in detecting andmeasuring Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis. The new testing service offers 24-hour turnaround of results and unparalleled sensitivity. It also expands Viracor-IBT's comprehensive suite of fungal testing services which includes PlateliaTM Aspergillus Galactomannan EIA and Fungitell® B Glucan.
Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis (IPA) is caused by Aspergillus, a common fungus with more than 100 species. The infection occurs when Aspergillus spores are inhaled and colonize in a person's airways. The disease primarily affects those with compromised immune systems,
including solid organ transplant, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, pelvic inflammatory disease and AIDS patients. It typically progresses to pneumonia, but can also cause complications in the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, and heart.
Fast diagnosis of IPA is critical. For patients who are diagnosed within 10 days of the onset of an infection, the disease is treatable and has a mortality rate of 41 percent. For patients who are not diagnosed within the first 10 days, the mortality rate climbs to 90 percent.
"Traditional diagnostic tools for IPA can be too slow or not sensitive enough to help establish an accurate diagnosis," said Steve Kleiboeker, chief scientific officer for Viracor-IBT. "In many cases, doctors are forced to treat patients based on incomplete information and can have to administer toxic anti fungal drug therapies as a preventative measure. When used in conjunction with other diagnostic procedures, Viracor-IBT's Aspergillus PCR Panel can be useful in helping to diagnose IPA and monitor patients with the infection. It has the potential to help improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs."
Viracor-IBT's Aspergillus PCR Panel includes three assays: Pan-Aspergillus PCR, A. Fumigatus PCR and A. Terreus PCR. The Pan-Aspergillus assay detects the presence of all Aspergillus species. The A. Fumigatus and A. Terreus assays detect the species of Aspergillus that cause most IPA infections. A. Fumigatus is the source of 50-80 percent of all IPA infections. A. Terreus causes 15 percent of infections. A. Terreus is important todetect because the fungus is resistant to Amphotericin B (AmB), a common anti-fungal drug therapy.
Viracor-IBT's Aspergillus PCR Panel can be employed as a diagnostic aid for IPA as well as used to monitor a patient's response to therapy and serve as a surveillance tool to determine illness before symptoms. The extraction method used in the Aspergillus PCR Panel makes a distinction between colonizing Aspergillus, which does not cause infection, and invasive Aspergillus, which does. Past diagnostic options have not been able to make this distinction, leading to some misdiagnosis and overuse of anti-fungal therapies.
Viracor-IBT's Aspergillus PCR Panel was created with seven years of research and development. To verify the new panel of tests, Viracor-IBT worked in partnership with collaborators including University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Duke University, University of Arkansas, University of Texas Health Sciences, and the National Cancer Institute's Pediatric Oncology Group.
For more information about Viracor-IBT, the Aspergillus PCR Panel and other tests available through the company, please visit www.ViracorIBT.com.
About Viracor-IBT Laboratories
ViraCor Laboratories and IBT Laboratories merged in June 2009 to form a unique specialty diagnostics laboratory. The combined company specializes in cellular, immunology, and allergy testing services as well as molecular assays that detect and monitor microbial pathogens. The company serves more than 4,000 physicians, hospitals, commercial laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies nationwide.