With avian flu threats on the rise, Alveo Technologies Inc. has been working with experts and leaders in the poultry industry to launch a rapid, accurate, in-the-field multiplex panel to test for all relevant strains of avian influenza, initially focusing on Group A, H5, H7, and H9.
To help co-develop and distribute the tests, Alveo has partnered with industry leaders x-OvO, Royal GD, and Pharmsure International Ltd. The company expects to release its first product in the poultry diagnostic space in EMEA in the first half of 2024.
“We’ve been working closely with Alveo in a deep collaboration to develop these highly valuable assays for Avian Influenza,” said Wim Kieftenbeld, Director of Business Development at Royal GD. “It’s a significant challenge where two parties bring in their expertise. Alveo has a lot of knowledge in the field of LAMP technology and human diagnostics, and Royal GD brings its expertise in the field of veterinary diseases and diagnostics. Together, we’ve achieved incredible results with an assay that accurately and rapidly delivers highly specific results at the point of need.”
The threat highly pathogenic avian flu poses to the poultry industry
In the most recent season, more than 68 million birds have been affected, surpassing the record set in the 2015 season which caused up to $4 billion in economic damage. Recent outbreaks in California and Alabama required the culling of nearly 700,000 birds.
The earlier both farmers and governments can detect infection, the faster they can take action to mitigate damage. Data collection for avian influenza is haphazard and tied to a limited number of central labs, which makes tracking the spread difficult, highlighting the need for innovative, rapid, on-site testing.
Currently, avian influenza testing typically takes one of two forms: lab-based PCR or lateral flow tests, commonly known as antigen tests. PCR tests are accurate but require sending samples to central or nationally approved laboratories for testing. Results can take days or even weeks to process depending on lab capacity, which delays decision-making at the farm level, increases the risk of infection from one flock to another, and extends human exposure time. Lateral flow tests do produce rapid results, but they are also not nearly as accurate as PCR.
“The poultry industry is facing a severe and growing threat from highly pathogenic avian influenza,” said Dr. Richard Currie, President, x-OvO. “The industry needs a rapid, precise, on-the-ground test so farmers and authorities can take immediate action. Together with Alveo and Royal GD, we’ve done what many thought impossible with the forthcoming Flockscreen™ LAMP AI assays franchise. Important to note is that results are time and geotagged, so a real-time “heatmap” of an outbreak can be seen at a national level. This has never been possible and will be a powerful tool to fight the spread of this pathogen and help ensure food security for millions of people around the globe.”
How Alveo works
The Alveo platform, including its mobile app Alveo Sense, is a rapid, handheld, reusable, and rugged multiplexed molecular diagnostic platform. It pairs advanced molecular assays with cloud-enabled data analytics to provide highly accurate and sensitive real-time detection, analysis, and diagnosis of diseases, pathogens, and contaminants.
The platform employs Alveo’s globally patented direct-electrical sensing approach to pathogen identification, leveraging loop-mediated isothermal amplification. This portable molecular lab can deliver rapid test results at the point of need or in the field. Alveo’s platform also provides geo-targeted results that can be uploaded to the cloud to give a real-time view of national outbreaks and inform the response.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic