Genome Map database allows rapid identification of pathogenic organisms
OpGen, Inc. Produces Whole-Genome Map of Potential Biothreat agent, Francisella tularensis
OpGen, Inc., a leader in single molecule DNA analysis technology, have now added a Genome Map of the Category "A" pathogen, Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of Tularemia, to its Genome Map database. The organism is of particular concern as a potential bio-threat agent because it is one of the most infectious bacteria known - as few as 10 cells may be sufficient to cause an infection. It has been estimated that release of the organism over a population center of around 5 million people could result in as many as 250,000 cases of tularemia and around 19,000 fatalities.
"Early identification of the causative agents in disease outbreaks, whether natural, or the result of bioterror attacks, is critical to mounting an effective response" said Colin Dykes, Chief Scientific Officer of OpGen. "OpGen's unique single-molecule analysis technology can rapidly identify suspect organisms, and variants of known organisms, including genetically-engineered strains carrying "foreign DNA", by detailed comparison of the organism's whole genome against reference maps in the database".
Francisella tularensis was selected for analysis, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, because of its potential as a bio-terror agent. "It is regarded as potentially more dangerous than anthrax as a bio-terror weapon, because of its extreme infectivity", said Dykes. "However, tularemia can be treated effectively with antibiotics such as streptomycin, if diagnosed in time".
OpGen plans to prepare Genome Maps from a wide range of potential bio-threat organisms, including those affecting plants and animals, as well as people, as a resource for rapid identification of suspect organisms. OpGen can also trace the source of agents involved in disease outbreaks by comparing Genome Maps from suspect organisms against those from known strains of the organism in the OpGen database.
Source: OpGen, Inc View latest company information
Posted: December 12, 2003
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