This article was originally posted on Smallcapvoice.com.
Once again, PositiveID Corporation aims to transforms the medical industry, this time with a new product called Dragonfly. This innovative company has just received a U.S. Patent for its most rapid molecular diagnostic testing device to date, the Dragonfly (TM) Rapid MDx Cartridge‐based diagnostic system. This amazing new medical technology provides the ability to deliver accurate results in less than half an hour. Imagine knowing the results of your medical tests during the same doctor’s visit, only a few minutes after examination. The future has arrived with Dragonfly. Now, patients can receive a rapid diagnosis in a fraction of the time required for current medical testing procedures.
The Waiting Game of Current Diagnostic Practices
Current diagnostic practices involve lengthy waiting periods often several days long. Without molecular diagnostics, samples must be identified according to their pathology or appearance under a microscope. For example, it can take up to 3 days to get results back from a culture to identify a strep throat infection. Delaying diagnosis usually means delaying treatment. In some cases, this delay of treatment can cause serious complications.
The Importance of Detecting Flu Early
In 2009, the H1N1 flu virus, also called swine flu, caused a worldwide pandemic, the first global pandemic in 40 years. Influenza kills between 250,000 and 550,000 each year. Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed the pandemic ended in August 2010, the virus still circulates like a seasonal flu virus and can affect humans and pigs.
Currently, the most recommended protection against H1N1 flu virus remains a flu vaccine shot, as the preventative serum includes protection against the H1N1 strain, as well as seasonal flu strains. However, since the symptoms of both types of flu are the same, it can be difficult to diagnose which strain a patient has until several days after the disease has taken affect. With the Dragonfly Cartridge, the flu strain can be identified and diagnosed in under 30 minutes. Because the H1N1 virus is expected to continue spreading for years to come, the threat of another serious pandemic looms in our future. Also, the influenza virus evolves rapidly and can cause new strains to quickly replace the older ones, creating a strong need for rapid detection. It can take as long as 6 months for manufacturers to develop and produce the millions of doses essential to treating the seasonal flu surge. The flu endangers all of us. Rapid detection is more important than ever.
Sooner Is Better than Later
As with all communicable diseases, especially air‐borne pathogens, there is a risk of outbreak that can lead to pandemic. Early detection is integral to prevention. Dangerous outbreaks can spread much faster if they go unidentified for very long. Inflected individuals must be quarantined as soon as possible to prevent further infection. The ability to quickly diagnose potentially threatening contagious pathogens drastically changes the likelihood of widespread pandemic.
Dragonfly Diagnoses HPV in Under 30 Minutes
Linked to a range of health problems including cardiovascular disease, genital warts, lung cancer, throat cancer and cervical cancer, more than 120 types of human papillomavirus (HPV) have been identified.
An estimated 490,000 cervical cancer cases, and 270,000 resulting deaths, occur each year and in nearly all cases of cervical cancer, HPV infection was present. 5.2% of all new cancer cases overall are attributed to HPV. This virus has surfaced as one of the most significant infectious causes of cancer, and the most frequent sexually‐transmitted disease in the world.
While pap smears have successfully reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in developed countries, there were still 11,000 cases and 3900 deaths in the United States in 2008 alone. An estimated 80% of American women will be afflicted with at least one strain of genital HPV during their lifetimes.
Current practices typically require 7 to 9 days and up to 3 separate visits to properly test for HPV. Dragonfly will provide actionable diagnostic information from a vaginal/endocervical swab in less than thirty minutes. This unique device has the capability to test for the top 13 types of high‐risk HPV.
Dragonfly Helps in Multiple Applications
Since the Dragonfly Cartridge is so easy to use and affordable, expect to see this device utilized in a wide range of applications, from urgent care or emergency response, HPV testing during regular OB/GYN visits to personalize medicine, and even monitoring for potentially emerging health threats such as the H1N1 virus.
Everyone Will Want Their Own DragonFly
Since the Dragonfly cartridge can be used for so many different applications, this device could become quite popular. According to William J. Caragol, PositiveID Corporation Chairman and CEO, Dragonfly might just “revolutionize the way healthcare is administered by enabling accurate diagnosis within minutes at the point of care, and before the patient leaves the physician’s office.” With this ability to rapidly diagnose certain disease and illness, health professionals can prescribe and implement appropriate treatments right away, therefore reducing unnecessary antibiotics. Dragonfly’s target markets include numerous focuses from regular physician offices and emergency response teams, to military operations and border affairs.
Conclusively, the Dragonfly cartridge could change our world by drastically speeding up health and disease detection, ultimately save more lives.
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