Abbott Laboratories Introduces First Fully Automated Test for Hepatitis A Virus

LOS ANGELES -- At the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Abbott Laboratories introduced the first fully automated hepatitis A assay in the United States for its widely used AxSYM® automated immunoassay instrument system. Used to diagnose an acute or recent hepatitis A viral infection, the AxSYM® HAVAB- M 2.0 assay detects the IgM antibody to hepatitis A (IgM anti-HAV). Abbott will be introducing additional AxSYM hepatitis assays in the United States throughout 2004 and continuing into 2005.

Produced by the body when it is initially exposed to the hepatitis A virus (HAV), IgM anti-HAV levels peak within the first month of illness and can usually be detected during the first three to six months of infection. By fully automating this assay, laboratories now have available a sensitive and specific test that is easy to use, enhances workflow productivity and provides a time to first result in as little as 20 minutes.

By developing and introducing many of the worlds first hepatitis assays, Abbott has set the standard for viral hepatitis testing. Abbotts hepatitis tests are used every day for blood screening and diagnostic testing, said Joseph M. Nemmers, senior vice president, diagnostic operations, Abbott Laboratories. For the hepatitis A virus, our AxSYM HAVAB-M assay now provides laboratories with an efficient and effective diagnostic test for this disease.

Utilizing micro-particle enzyme immunoassay testing (MEIA) methodology, the AxSYM HAVAB-M assay provides laboratories with a simple and convenient test that has excellent correlation to Abbotts well-known IMx® HAVAB-M assay and EIA HAVAB®-M assay. Combined with the reliability, accuracy and convenience of the AxSYM immunoassay system, laboratories can process a variety of immunodiagnostic tests simultaneously, up to 80 to 120 tests per hour.

During the AACC, Abbott will be supporting a variety of hepatitis activities including a scientific workshop on Viral Hepatitis Diagnosis and its Challenges for the Modern Laboratory taking place on Thursday, July 29 at 7 a.m. PST. Also, based on the number of AACC attendees that visit the Abbott Diagnostics exhibit, Abbott will make a contribution to Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI), a non-profit organization focused on raising hepatitis awareness by educating the public, patients and professionals about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis.

Abbotts dedication to raising hepatitis awareness is evident from its history and commitment to the disease, said Thelma King Thiel, chairman and chief executive officer, Hepatitis Foundation International. The symptoms associated with viral hepatitis may vary from one individual to another. Some people who acquire hepatitis have no symptoms at all and do not realize that they can transmit the virus to others. Thats why its important to continue to raise awareness about this disease.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.5 million clinical cases of hepatitis A occur each year. Symptoms typically include fever, malaise, anorexia, nausea and abdominal discomfort, occasionally followed by dark urine and jaundice.

Source: Abbott Laboratories

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