PositiveID Corporation, a developer of biological detection and diagnostics solutions, announced today that it successfully detected methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on its Firefly Dx polymerase chain reaction (PCR) breadboard prototype pathogen detection system (prototype system) in less than 20 minutes. MRSA is a bacterium that is resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections, and therefore it is difficult to treat.
Most MRSA infections occur in people who have been in hospitals or other health care settings, in which cases it is known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.
According to a market study published by Transparency Market Research, the global hospital acquired disease testing market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 19.3% during the period of 2013-2019, and is expected to reach US$7.5 billion by the end of 2019.
The MRSA assay was run on the Firefly Dx prototype system, which the Company is developing to be a handheld, fully automated, lab quality, real-time device able to detect these types of threats. Currently tests are run on large lab equipment and take a minimum of four hours to deliver results. A design advantage of Firefly Dx is that it does not require additional equipment or separate steps for sample preparation and purification, unlike current lab-based equipment, thus reducing time to results as well as cost per test. In addition, there is significantly less chance of sample contamination compared to existing testing methods.
“We are excited by the continued positive results from the ongoing testing and development of our Firefly Dx prototype system,” stated William J. Caragol, Chairman and CEO of PositiveID. “With the increasing prevalence of healthcare associated infections and the increasing number of pathogens that are becoming drug resistant, there is an important need for rapid, cost-effective testing solutions for hospital acquired disease testing.”
PositiveID’s Firefly Dx is designed to provide real-time, accurate diagnostic results in a handheld device, thereby leading to treatment scenarios at the point of need that are not possible with existing systems, which require lab-based equipment, highly trained personnel, and can take hours or even days to provide results. Firefly’s applications include point-of-need, lab-quality, detection of pathogenic organisms; agricultural screening in both domestic sectors and developing countries; and detection of biological agents associated with weapons of mass destruction.