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CombiMatrix, Washington State Animal Lab to Test Speed of Firm s Bird Flu Monitor; Shares Rise 5.4 Percent

NEW YORK, May 2 (GenomeWeb News) - CombiMatrix and Washington state's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory will test the company's Influenza Surveillance Technology to see if it can identify avian flu quickly in birds, Combi's parent, Acacia, said today.


News of the deal caused shares in CombiMatrix to rise 5.42 percent, or $.12, to $2.34 in mid-afternoon trading.


The current validated protocol for verifying a pathogenic influenza strain requires performing PCR to determine the existence of matrix protein gene. If matrix protein exists, researchers perform a successive PCR for hemagglutinin to determine if the H5 gene is also present.


Verification and further typing after a positive result requires the sample to be cultured and sequenced, which can take roughly on week or more, Combi said. The company said its monitoring system has shown "in laboratory tests" that it can confirm and type the infection in four hours.


"Our goal in this study is to demonstrate that our system produces quick virus typing results in the diagnostic laboratory environment that correlate to the standard protocol," Combi said in a statement.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.