Scientists with PrimerDesign Ltd, a UK firm founded by University of Southampton, have produced the first DNA test kit for the Mexican swine flu. The first shipment of rapid-results tests has been sent today directly to Mexico as well as many other territories to help authorities monitor the increasing number of suspected cases.
Project coordinator Dr Rob Powell said: "This past Sunday at midnight was a very special moment for us. We were able to show conclusively that the test works."
The rapid test has results in only two hours compared to current diagnostic tests which take two days.
"Monitoring the spread of the virus is now the key weapon against a possible pandemic. These tests will contribute to the global effort to halt the disease," said Dr Jim Wicks from PrimerDesign.
The company is part of the University's SETsquared Business Incubation programme.
The PrimerDesign swine flu real-time PCR kit is sold primarily for research use but could be used to diagnose the disease in laboratories globally.
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