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NIH Awards Akonni $300K to Develop System to ID Disease in CSF

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Akonni Biosystems today announced the National Institutes of Health has awarded it $300,000 to develop nucleic acid extraction and microarray-based testing systems for the identification of human disease in cerebrospinal fluid.

Specifically, the Frederick, Md.-based company is using the grant to develop a closed amplicon RT-PCR microarray for detecting enterovirus, herpes viruses, and West Nile virus in CSF. The herpes viruses targeted by the technology include herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2; varicella-zoster virus; cytomegalovirus; and human herpesvirus type 6.

The Laboratory of Viral Diseases at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, NY, is collaborating on the project. Together it and Akonni will "study, develop, and test a 'closed amplicon' gel element of RT-PCR and contribute to the development of more rapid, affordable, and comprehensive methods for diagnosing viral encephalitis and meningitis," Akonni said.

In a statement, Kevin Banks, vice president of sales and marketing for Akonni, said that "[c]ombining RT-PCR with our proprietary gel-drop microarray platform in a self-contained microfluidic chamber will further enhance our ability to develop and deploy multi-test panels to affordably and rapidly detect viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites in a single patient sample."