The MGB Alert ENV real-time PCR reagent will have applications for drug discovery and research as enterovirus therapy stands a much greater chance of success if detected early.
"According to the Centers for Disease Control, enteroviruses cause an estimated 10 to 15 million symptomatic cases a year in the US," said Howard Birndorf, Nanogen chairman and chief executive officer.
"Enterovirus testing constitutes a segment of the infectious disease molecular diagnostics market, which is expected to reach $2.3bn (€1.8bn) by 2010."
The detection of viral infections by real-time PCR is typically faster, more sensitive and more specific than through other method. Aseptic meningitis cases account for tens of thousands of hospitalisations every year.
Nanogen's MGB Alert Enterovirus analyte specific reagent (ASR) utilises novel detection chemistry claimed in US Patent 7,045,610, issued to Nanogen May 16.
The patent, "Modified Oligonucleotides for Mismatch Discrimination," claims the use of modified bases to improved hybridisation-based diagnostic assays.
The patented chemistry is employed in most of the company's ASRs and research products, enabling laboratories to develop multiple assays with universal parameters, which increases the efficiency and throughput of clinical testing.
The super bases (Super A, Super T, Super G and Super N) and MGB technology described in the patent allow the use of shorter probes with increased sensitivity to mismatches, which have proved essential for detecting short conserved sequences of enteroviruses as well as other pathogens.
"Specifically, '610 allows Nanogen to deliver real-time PCR probe and primer designs for targets that would be otherwise intractable," added Birndorf.