In collaboration with the company Labor Dr. Merk & Kollegen GmbH and the Institute of Virology at the University of Ulm, the ILM is developing an innovative detection system for the early diagnosis of influenza virus infections in pharyngeal secretions.
The quick diagnosis of influenza viruses in patients suffering from flu is key to the required early treatment of the disease. Such a diagnosis can only be achieved using a method that enables the improved and patient-friendly recovery of respiratory tract secretions and a sensitive, rapid virus-antigen method adapted to the recovery method. A project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is aiming to develop a novel method for the identification of viral pathogens, which combines simple handling with modern optical methods and which can be easily standardised.
By using particle-bound capture antibodies to enrich viral antigens simultaneously with different fluorescence-labelled detection antibodies, the project plans to digitally acquire different parameters that enable the differentiation of pathogen types.
The test enables both qualitative and quantitative statements to be made about the antigen and it is envisaged that it will also be used for therapy control. These systems have already been successfully used for the identification of viral influenza A nucleoproteins in standardised samples. Validation with clinical sample material will start shortly. The new methods will be compared to established peroxidase-based methods and tests will be carried out in close cooperation with Labor Dr. Merk & Kollegen GmbH and the Institute of Virology at the University of Ulm. The results will be used as the basis for conceiving a new, easy-to-handle diagnosis unit that is also suitable for the identification of other pathogens using the same detection principle.