Abbott Laboratories Enters Agreement With Medical Analysis Systems for West Nile Virus Test

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. -- Abbott Laboratories today announced a co-marketing agreement with Medical Analysis Systems, Inc. (MAS), a Fisher Scientific International Inc. company, for the VecTest family of antigen-based assays, including a rapid test for detecting the West Nile virus in infected mosquitoes.

The proprietary VecTest products, developed and manufactured by MAS, also include rapid tests for detecting malaria and Saint Louis encephalitis in infected mosquitoes. MAS also will provide a rapid test for detecting the West Nile virus in infected birds following regulatory approval.

State and local health authorities can use the VecTest to monitor mosquito populations, a major carrier of the West Nile virus. Detection of the virus in mosquitoes or birds is an early indicator that a particular area is at risk of infection and allows public health teams to respond quickly. The test can be performed in less than 20 minutes and results can be visually read and easily interpreted.

"By monitoring viral activity in mosquito and bird populations, it may be possible to predict the threat of epidemic transmission to humans and implement effective prevention programs," said James Koziarz, PhD, vice president, diagnostic products research and development, Abbott Laboratories.

Under the agreement, MAS will manufacture the tests and Abbott will have rights to market the product worldwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals. Most people who become infected with the West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or only mild ones. However, on rare occasions, the West Nile virus infection can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness.

Abbott is also developing a laboratory test to detect human antibodies to the West Nile virus in recently infected individuals. The company plans to submit a marketing application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early summer.

Abbott is a global leader in in vitro diagnostics. Immunochemistry tests, which continue to form the cornerstone of Abbott's diagnostics business, analyze diseases and other medical conditions by measuring the body's antigen/antibody reaction. In 1985, Abbott developed the world's first HIV blood screening test. Today, Abbott's leading-edge tests and instruments protect the world's blood supply from HIV and hepatitis, screen blood samples for workplace substance-abuse, measure disease progress, and help millions of people with diabetes around the world monitor and manage their blood glucose levels.

Medical Analysis Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of quality control products, quality assurance programs and services, reagents, and calibrators used in clinical diagnostic testing worldwide. MAS pioneered "liquid stable" technology, and has since been a recognized leader in the manufacture of control, reagent and calibrator products featuring this innovation.

Source: Abbott Laboratories