Many respiratory viruses, including various strains of influenza, present with similar symptoms. Rapid and accurate diagnoses are needed in order to provide targeted, effective treatment and prevent spread of disease. The FilmArray system can simultaneously detect 20 respiratory viruses from patient samples obtained from nasopharyngeal swabs in one hour. It is designed for use in point-of-care settings.
Accurately diagnosing respiratory infections that present with similar symptoms is a high priority for clinicians and public health officials. Rapid and accurate diagnosis enables earlier, targeted treatment that is more likely to resolve the infection in a timely manner. In addition to helping the patient, this reduces spread of the virus and can curtail pandemics. More targeted and effective treatments may also limit the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
The FilmArray system uses multi-stage PCR to simultaneously detect multiple respiratory viruses. The initial FilmArray respiratory panel was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011 to detect 15 viruses. Assays to detect five additional pathogens were cleared in 2012. The panel can differentiate particular influenza strains such as H5N1. About two minutes of hands-on time is required; results are available after one hour.
Since 2005, NIAID has awarded small business grants and NIAID partnerships to BioFire Diagnostics, Inc., (formerly Idaho Technology, Inc.) to support development of this multiplex diagnostic platform from initial prototype through the current version. This support was essential for developing the FilmArray Respiratory Panel. NIAID preclinical resources also played a role in developing the FilmArray. Influenza sequences generated by NIAID Genomics Sequencing Centers and made available through the Influenza Research Database facilitated design of the influenza detection assays included in this platform. Avian influenza strains obtained from the BEI repository were used to validate the assays.
New film array applications are currently under development. These may include panels for blood cultures, gastrointestinal pathogens, and sexually transmitted infections. Software and hardware upgrades may allow multiple instruments to be run from a single computer.
Last Updated March 19, 2013