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$1.3M Awarded for Blood-Based Biothreat Tests
UMDNJ AND CEPHEID recently received a grant from the NIH to develop sample processing and amplification methods for highly-sensitive detection of bloodstream bacteria using nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on the GeneXpert System. The $1.3 million grant is for the first year of an expected five-year, $5.5 million program. The program is being administered by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) through its Partnerships for Biodefense special emphasis program.
Because even an extremely low concentration of bacteria present in a patient's blood can cause life-threatening sepsis, tests to detect blood stream infections (BSI) must be highly sensitive. Most blood stream infections are currently diagnosed by performing a series of blood cultures, a time-consuming process that typically takes days to produce a positive result, and even longer to predict treatment susceptibility.
The overarching goal of the project, scheduled to run through February 2017, is to develop tests to detect a variety of bacterial bioterrorism agents in the case of a terrorist attack. Principal investigator on the grant is David Alland, MD, professor of medicine, chief of infectious diseases, and director of the Center for Emerging & Re-Emerging Pathogens at NJMS and a long-time Cepheid collaborator, and the work on select agents will be conducted in his laboratories.