IR scanners, chip-based device join effort to contain swine-origin H1N1 influenza A virus

May 7, 2009--Each day this week, about 10,000 passengers arriving at the Abu Dhabi International Airport from countries affected by swine flu are being funneled through two infrared scanners operated by medical staff in face masks. Meanwhile, an American company confirmed, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that its optics-based technology detects swine-origin H1N1 influenza A viruses, and clearly distinguishes them from seasonal flu and avian viruses.

May 7th, 2009

May 7, 2009--Each day this week, about 10,000 passengers arriving at the Abu Dhabi International Airport from countries affected by swine flu are being funneled through two infrared scannersoperated by medical staff in face masks. Meanwhile, an American company confirmed, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that its optics-based technology is able to detect swine-origin H1N1 influenza A viruses, and clearly distinguish them from seasonal influenza viruses (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) as well as the deadly avian A/H5N1 virus.

The CDC provided scientists at the biotech startup InDevR (Boulder, CO) with non-infectious genetic material from swine-origin influenza viruses in order to evaluate the performance of its FluChip technology in a side-by-side comparison with seasonal human influenza viruses. "The FluChip assay detected all of the 6 swine-origin H1N1 viruses tested, and the resulting pattern, or signature, on the microarray was dramatically different than the signature for seasonal A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 viruses. Interestingly, the signature of the swine H1N1 virus indicated an avian component within the M-gene, which is consistent with its reported Eurasian lineage, said Dr. Erica Dawson, the Lead Scientist on the project at InDevR and co-inventor of the FluChip technology.

The FluChip is expected to be a powerful addition to the influenza surveillance toolkit since it will be less susceptible to failure than qRT-PCR assays as the virus continues to evolve.

The scene at Abu Dhabi airport is being repeated at transportation terminals all over the world, and systems such as the MIRICLE FevIR Scan Skin Temperature Monitor by Thermoteknix(Cambridge, England) are enabling the effort with "high-speed, sensitive temperature measurement for high-volume pedestrian transit areas."

Thermoteknix says the MIRICLE FevIR is easy to install, operate and relocate with minimal setup time and operator training. Visible and audible alerts provide instant notification of high temperature, and on-screen alerts identify one or more individuals in a large crowd situation, aiding rapid dectection and maintaining passenger flow.

The company's MIRICLE 110K radiometric infrared thermal imaging cameraclaims to detect temperature differences as small as 0.05°C and with its high resolution 110,000 pixel detector and lens options, covers a wide or narrow field of view as required for transit monitoring.

Representative results from the study proving FluChip's H1N1 capabilities are available on InDevR's website. Find more on mass IR screening and Thermoteknix products at Thermoteknix's website.

Reported by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for Laser Focus World.

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