NEW YORK, Dec. 10 — Cepheid announced Monday that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed and validated test kits to use the company's DNA detection systems to identify bioterrorism agents like anthrax.
The reagent kits are now being provided to the nationwide Laboratory Response Network, a public health network organized in 1999 to provide screening and reference testing services in case of bioterrorism attack.
These kits also include reagents to identify other pathogens beside anthrax that may be used in bioterrorism. Cepheid president and COO Kurt Petersen said that those other pathogens would remain confidential at the request of the CDC.
Cepheid's Smart Cycler line of DNA detection systems use PCR to identify samples in as little as 20 minutes. They are now being used by the CDC, the Department of Defense, the US Army Medical Research Institute and other public health and surveillance agencies.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cepheid and the CDC, whose headquarters are in Atlanta, Ga., are informally working together to improve the company's prototype battery-operated portable DNA detection system, said Peterson.