‘Lab in a Backpack’ Expedites Test Results

Mobile Influenza Analysis brings influenza sequencing technology into the field

medic testing in the field

Experts in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Influenza Division have developed a portable flu laboratory that can sequence the influenza genome and analyze flu A viruses in real-time and on-site. 

The test kit, called Mobile Influenza Analysis (MIA), brings influenza sequencing technology out of the laboratory and into the field, said this CDC article published on February 6, 2020.

This reduces the time needed to genetically analyze viruses, producing actionable data that can be used in a public health response.

“MIA has the potential to transform influenza surveillance, accelerate vaccine production during an influenza pandemic and greatly enhances CDC’s responsiveness to influenza outbreaks for protecting public health”- John Barnes, Ph.D., Team Lead, Genomics, and Diagnostics, CDC.

During any virus outbreak, time is of the essence. For flu, the sooner researchers can understand the genetic composition of the emergent viruses, the sooner prevention and control measures can begin, including the development of a vaccine. 

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Dr. Barnes’ team estimates that had the viruses they detected caused a flu pandemic, their proactive surveillance and the time saved by using MIA would have provided an 8-week advantage for vaccine manufacturing.

The success of MIA’s use in the field at the site of a flu outbreak paves the way for future progress toward the decentralization of flu surveillance.

Influenza news published by Precision Vaccinations.