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HelixBind Receives $3M NIH Grant to Expand Bloodstream Infection Dx Platform

NEW YORK – HelixBind said on Wednesday it was awarded a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand the capabilities of its RaPID direct-from-blood platform, which identifies and characterizes bloodstream infections. 

The platform's first test, RaPID/BSI, identifies the most common bloodstream infections associated with sepsis and received an expanded $4 million contract from the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Accelerator (CARB-X) program in December, expanding on a $2 million funding award from CARB-X announced in 2018. The expansion was based on the successful completion of product development milestones.

The RaPID platform uses peptide nucleic acid-based amplification to identify infections direct from blood within hours, the firm said. The platform has a disposable element to snap in an EDTA blood collection tube, which then goes into an analyzer to conduct PCR for 16s and 18s genomic DNA. Instead of using DNA hybridization, the system uses artificial nucleic acid probes.

The Marlborough, Massachusetts-based company also announced blood culture and infectious disease expert Melvin Weinstein is joining the firm's clinical advisory board. Weinstein is the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology at Rutgers Health and a professor of medicine and pathology and laboratory medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The Scan

Could Mix It Up

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a plan that would allow for the mixing-and-matching of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and boosters, the New York Times says.

Closest to the Dog

New Scientist reports that extinct Japanese wolf appears to be the closest known wild relative of dogs.

Offer to Come Back

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the University of Tennessee is offering Anming Hu, a professor who was acquitted of charges that he hid ties to China, his position back.

PNAS Papers on Myeloid Differentiation MicroRNAs, Urinary Exosomes, Maize Domestication

In PNAS this week: role of microRNAs in myeloid differentiation, exosomes in urine, and more.