March 12, 2008 — The Finland-based biotechnology company Mobidiag announced the new Prove-it Herpes test for the fast and reliable identification of herpes viruses. The microarray-based test takes fewer than three hours to complete and enables simultaneous identification of eight different human herpes viruses. Herpes viruses cause life-threatening central nervous system infections (CNSI), and rapid diagnosis improves likelihood of recovery. The new test is initially intended for research purposes, and Mobidiag plans to acquire European approval for use in clinical diagnostics later this year.
“Market potential for the product is enormous. In Europe alone, over 100 million euros are spent annually on herpes virus diagnostics. We believe that Prove-it Herpes will gain a considerable slice of that market,” says Jaakko Pellosniemi, CEO of Mobidiag.
In addition to illnesses such as labial herpes, chickenpox, and roseola, herpes viruses can also cause serious central nervous system infections such as encephalitis. Without appropriate treatment, mortality rate from these infections can be as high as 50%. The sooner the pathogen is detected, the higher the likelihood of recovery. However, virus detection may be slow with current methods, and in severe suspected virus infection cases, medication is often started merely as a precaution. There are roughly four million of these suspected cases annually in the Industrial World, making testing and treating potential infections very expensive.
The Mobidiag test can detect and identify viruses such as labial herpes, chickenpox, as well as serious central nervous system infections such as encephalitis many times faster than conventional methods, according to company claims. Appropriate antiviral treatment can be administered sooner, and the level of potential permanent damage to the patient is decreased. Mobidiag’s test reveals multi-infections caused by several herpes viruses. The detection is also exceptionally sensitive to low viral loads, which are typical in the early stages of a central nervous system infection.