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Genomics Awarded First U.S. Patent Covering Rapid DNA Sequencing Technology Platform to Control Hospital-Acquired Infections
Friday, September 05, 2008
New York, NY -- eGenomics, Inc., a leader in the development of state of the art genomic and informational systems for infectious disease control, announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued U.S. Patent no. 7,449,808, for key elements of its proprietary warning system for hospital infection control. The system "fingerprints" infection-causing bacteria using automated DNA sequencing, stores the resulting DNA sequences in a central database and analyzes the results using proprietary algorithms. The platform allows hospital infection control teams to monitor in "real time" the spread of specific harmful pathogens.
"The eGenomics System should be a major component of every hospitals' effort to monitor and prevent methycillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections," comments Barry Kreiswirth, the company's Chief Scientist. "In addition, the eGenomics platform works equally well on all Staphylococcus aureus -- MSSA and MRSA. We are in the process of expanding our monitoring system to work with other common nosocomial pathogens."
The eGenomics 'mapping' system differentiates clusters of related strains in order to identify a source or transmission vector. Importantly, the system can identify when strains are not related, effectively telling a hospital when they are and when they are not experiencing internal transmission problems.
"The eGenomics platform will allow infection control teams to monitor and prevent potential outbreaks as well as monitor random, non-outbreak events. It will allow us to focus our infection control efforts on the most critical areas," observed Dr. Brian Koll, the Chief of Infectious Disease at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. "The eGenomics platform also allows us to monitor which MRSA strains are coming into the hospital from nursing homes and affiliated clinics."
The eGenomics system also complements the use of rapid MRSA tests that are being developed by other companies in the industry. "Incorporating the eGenomics system into existing and next generation rapid MRSA tests," adds Dr. Kreiswirth, "would provide hospitals with a system that guides containment and eradication efforts from first admission to final release. Such a combined system would add substantial capability to hospital infection control."
The eGenomics platform incorporates an ever growing proprietary library of over 6000 analyzed S. aureus strains, as well as other infectious organisms.
Dr. Kreiswirth noted that the eGenomics platform is expected to:
- Reduce the chance of acquiring a nosocomial infection
- Identify outbreaks and their sources before they become endemic
- Identify non-outbreaks, allowing hospitals to avoid extreme and costly infection control measures
- Direct more appropriate antibiotic usage, and thereby extend the effectiveness of existing antibiotics
- Lower actual costs to control infections
- Be faster and more accurate than comparable sub-speciation techniques such as Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis
- Share "lessons learned" with participating institutions
- Allow typically understaffed infection control teams to make infection control decisions based on qualitative data
The eGenomics system is currently being used in active surveillance programs at Beth Israel Medical Center New York (Continuum Health Care), Newark (NJ) Beth Israel Medical Center Newark, NJ (St. Barnabas Health Care System) and the VA Medical Center East Orange NJ. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rockefeller University, Duke University Medical Center, Purdue University, The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) -- as well as research facilities in Australia, Japan, Canada, India, Portugal, The Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Egypt and Scotland -- currently use the eGenomics software.
The patent, entitled "System and Method for Tracking and Controlling Infections," was written by Barry N. Kreiswirth and Steven M. Naidich, both of eGenomics, Inc.
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