Chip launched to detect bird flu

A portable chip to detect influenza viruses, including bird flu in humans, has been developed by Europe 's top semiconductor maker, STMicroelectronics.

The device, which functions as a mini laboratory on a chip, can screen and identify multiple classes of pathogens and genes in a single diagnostic test within two hours.
The small chip can differentiate human strains of the Influenza A and B viruses, drug-resistant strains and mutated variants, including the bird flu or H5N1 strain.
The VereFlu Chip was developed by the Franco-Italian chipmaker together with Singapore's privately held Veredus Laboratories after more than a year of research. The application underwent extensive evaluation trials at Singapore's National University Hospital in 2007.
This chip allows users to process and analyze patient samples -- comprising human blood, serum or respiratory swabs -- on a single disposable thumbnail-sized microchip.
Francois Guibert, STMicro's Asia Pacific chief executive said revenue contributions from its biomedical chip business would remain "negligible" for at least another three to five years.
Veredus Chief Executive Rosemary Tan said the company had obtained "very promising" sales orders from hospitals and non-hospital customers. Tan states that a big potential market is the screening of travellers at airports and border checkpoints.
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