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Hain Lifescience GmbH: modern test systems help to heal

Hain Lifescience GmbH is a biotechnology company that develops, manufactures and distributes molecular genetic test systems and instruments. The company was established by brothers David and Tobias Hain in 1988 and employs over 100 people at its headquarters in the city of Nehren in the district of Tübingen. Hain Lifescience also has four subsidiaries abroad. The company focusses on the development of test systems for the early and rapid identification of bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is the major cause of hospital-acquired infections. The company’s MRSA test provides a reliable result in less than three hours, enabling appropriate therapeutic measures to be taken rapidly.

The company Hain Lifescience employs more than 100 people at its Nehren headquarters and has subsidiaries in Spain, South Africa, Kenya and Great Britain. © Hain Lifescience GmbH

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently identified antimicrobial resistance as one of three greatest threats to human health: In Europe alone, infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are the cause of more than 25,000 deaths per year. And the number of infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria is increasing. At the same time, the number of effective antibiotics is constantly decreasing. Patients in hospitals are at a particularly high risk of being infected by multi-resistant pathogens, which is why they are often referred to as hospital pathogens.

The methicillin-resistant bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most frequent causes of hospital-acquired infections worldwide where patients with open wounds and weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of infection than the general public. Infection with MRSA is so dangerous because the infection is difficult to treat with standard types of antibiotics. In addition, the infected patients need to stay in hospital for a prolonged period of time and therefore generate high costs for the healthcare system. Reliable and fast MRSA tests are required in order to be able to treat MRSA infections quickly and with special antibiotics and to be able to put in place necessary hygiene measures and prevent the further spread of the pathogen. 

Molecular genetic test systems for the diagnosis of MRSA

DNA is isolated from patient samples and used for the fully automated identification of MRSA in the FluoroCycler® 12. A limited amount of training is required for performing the test in any laboratory. © Hain Lifescience GmbH

In 2012, Hain Lifescience GmbH developed and placed on the market a rapid molecular genetic test system for the reliable detection of MRSA from patient samples. The FluoroType® MRSA uses clinical swab specimens from the nose, throat, skin or wound and produces reliable results within approximately 2.5 hours. All steps run fully automatically; high reproducibility is achieved with individual samples as well as a large number of samples.

The test identifies hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) strains, community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) strains well as well as livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA) strains. The scientists from Nehren have also developed test systems for the rapid identification of bacterial species from culture samples. GenoType® MRSA enables the differentiation of two different strains, i.e. S. aureus and S. epidermidis, from cultures. The GenoType® Staphylococcus test system is able to identify six clinically relevant Staphyloccus strains. The result is available within four hours.

Innovative MRSA diagnostics with fluorescence-labelled probes

The MRSA test is based on DNA extraction, PCR and melting curve analysis. The results are available in 2.5 hours. © Hain Lifescience GmbH
The FluoroType® MRSA is based on the innovative HyBeacon technology and uses highly specific, fluorescence-labelled probes for the identification of bacteria. Microbial DNA is isolated from the swab using the company’s kit for fast extraction of bacterial DNA. The DNA is then analysed fully automatically using the company’s FluoroCycler® 12, a device that combines fully automated DNA extraction and subsequent amplification (PCR; polymerase chain reaction) with fluorescence-based detection. The results are based on melting curve analyses that assess whether or not the fluorescence-labelled HyBeacon probes bind to the amplified DNA. The HyBeacon probes are single-stranded, fluorescence-labelled and complementary to the sample DNA, which is denatured in order to also produce single-stranded DNA. The fluorophore of the HyBeacon probes does not emit fluorescence in unbound condition. The single-stranded HyBeacon probes hybridise with the single-stranded amplified DNA material, which leads to the excitation of the fluorophore and enables the measurement of fluorescence. During melting curve analysis, the HyBeacon probes and the amplified sample DNA dissociate at a specific temperature. This leads to single-stranded probes and to an immediate decrease in fluorescence. The decrease in fluorescence is measured by the optical thermocycler and displayed as a melting curve. The test-specific software evaluates the melting curve and displays the results. The results can be interpreted and transferred directly into the laboratory information system.

From laboratory supplier to test system developer

Hain Lifescience has developed more than 50 different test systems, including systems that enable the identification of periodontal or tuberculosis bacteria. © Hain Lifescience GmbH

Hain Lifescience has developed many diagnostic test systems and laboratory equipment based on different technology platforms. These products allow definite statements to be made about the presence of hereditary diseases or can be used to identify bacteria or viruses which cause tuberculosis and other infections. In connection with the identification of the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis and anti-tuberculosis drug resistance, Hain Lifescience cooperates with international institutions affiliated with the World Health Organisation (WHO), thus contributing to the fight against increasing levels of tuberculosis and resistant mycobacteria.

Brothers David and Tobias Hain established their company around 25 years ago and initially focused on the commercialisation of laboratory products. Ten years later, they developed the first diagnostic test system for the identification of periodontopathogenic bacteria. The company’s test enables the reliable determination of the presence and concentration of hazardous bacteria and initiate effective treatment. The disease is rather common and affects more than 75 percent of all adults. 

The company portfolio now includes more than 50 highly specific diagnostic tests. Hain Lifescience also develops the instruments needed for processing the tests. The company is therefore focused on the development, production and commercialisation of innovative systems for laboratory diagnostics.

Further information:

Hain Lifescience GmbH
Hardwiesenstr. 1
72147 Nehren
Tel.: +49 (0)7473-9451 0
E-mail: info(at)hain-lifescience.de

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/hain-lifescience-gmbh-modern-test-systems-help-to-heal