Noroviruses are a group of single-stranded RNA, non-enveloped viruses that commonly cause food poisoning and acute gastroenteritis. Typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. In the U.S., the virus type is responsible for 20 million illnesses and contributes to more than 50,000 hospitalizations each year. It requires very small amounts of the virus to infect an individual, making it extremely contagious and able to spread quickly, particularly in closed environments. This is particularly true in hospital wards, long-term care facilities, schools, and cruise ships. The virus is easily transmitted directly from individual to individual by way of contaminated water and food or by touching contaminated surfaces.
Austin-based Luminex Corp. (LMNX) has announced that a norovirus assay will be placed on the launch menu for its new sample-to-answer, ARIES™. This 4th of 5 assays is designed to test for both GI and GII genogroups in a single, easy-to-use cassette. Noroviruses are genetically classified into 5 genotypes; GI through GV, where GI and GII are responsible for most human disease. The previously announced items in the five assay launch menu include: Flu A&B/RSV, HSV 1&2, and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Future menu items will be announced at a later date.
According to Dr. Simon Goldenberg, Consultant Microbiologist and Infection Control Doctor, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital, “Typically norovirus and C. difficile are the two most likely causes of hospital acquired diarrhea. The presence and burden of norovirus in the hospital and other healthcare settings are often underappreciated. Routine, rapid testing for norovirus as a frequent causative pathogen of hospital acquired diarrhea is essential in order to prevent outbreaks and hospital ward closures while reducing cost.”
Patrick J. Balthrop, president and chief executive officer of Luminex, notes, “Norovirus can be a very serious illness especially for the very young, the elderly and those that are immunocompromised. Because our new ARIES assays are being developed with a universal protocol, allowing laboratories to quickly run C. diff and norovirus at the same time, more rapid patient management techniques can be implemented to stem potentially costly outbreak situations and improve patient care.”
Luminex was the first to commercialize an FDA cleared norovirus test as part of its comprehensive syndromic xTAG® Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP). XTAG GPP is the only test that simultaneously detects and identifies parasitic, bacterial and viral pathogens responsible for infectious diarrhea. This serves as a frontline test for quicker surveillance of foodborne outbreaks. This prevents from having to do several tests which prolongs getting results.
Luminex will feature its new ARIES System at the Clinical Virology Symposium (CVS), April 27-30 in Daytona Beach, FL, Booth #209. Additionally, during CVS they will host a workshop on Monday, April 28th from 2:45pm – 4:15pm EST, demonstrating the value of xTAG GPP for community-acquired diarrhea, and the burden of norovirus in the hospital setting.