Safe storage and transport of Ebola, Mers-CoV, and other viruses: Groundbreaking viral inactivation solution capable of preserving nucleic acids

Safe storage and transport of Ebola, Mers-CoV, and other viruses: Groundbreaking viral inactivation solution capable of preserving nucleic acids

IRVINE, Calif.Sept. 15, 2014 PRNewswire -- Zymo Research Corp., has announced the release of a new viral transport solution for safe ambient temperature storage and transport of infectious biological specimens prior to molecular testing. Importantly, the infectivity of agents in such samples is completely inactivated by the solution while maintaining the integrity of the viral nucleic acids for subsequent analyses.  With the dire news of the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the MERS-CoV outbreak in the Arabian Peninsula, it has become increasingly apparent that proper collection and transport of clinical specimens is critical for safety as well as ensuring the accurate surveillance and monitoring of these viruses.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens from patients under investigation for these viruses, but conditions are not always optimal for accumulating and preserving patient samples; and recommended cold chain (refrigeration/freezing) of collected samples is not always an option in the field.   Furthermore, there is no guarantee that pathogens within a sample are inactivated during its transport meaning there is the potential for transmission and subsequent infections.

DNA/RNA Shield™ viral transport solution from Zymo Research effectively and efficiently lyses cells and completely inactivates infectious agents, while stabilizing candidate pathogen nucleic acids at ambient temperatures for sample storage and transport.  The transport solution can be integrated into nearly any sample collection tube or container that is used in the field for amassing buccal swabs, blood, urine, stool, or saliva.  Finally, the unique properties of the transport solution make it conducive to direct input into one of numerous different DNA and RNA purification regimens offered by Zymo Research and most other major suppliers.  Since there is no requirement to remove the solution prior to nucleic acid extraction, high-throughput processing of samples in DNA/RNA Shield™ can be facilitated using most liquid handling robots.

DNA/RNA Shield™ viral transport solution has been demonstrated to inactivate Ebola, Influenza, and Herpes Simplex viruses while preserving the integrity of the RNA and DNA for subsequent molecular detection.  In a recent report by Nowotny1 et al., DNA/RNA Shield™ viral transport solution was used in the hot desert environment of Saudi Arabia to facilitate a comparison between MERS-CoV isolated from camels to that of humans.   The study suggested a zoonotic transmission of the virus possibly via a respiratory route.

How can this technology have an impact on human health?  "DNA/RNA Shield™ viral transport solution provides healthcare professionals additional safeguards when handling infectious agents and samples from patients in outbreaks across the world.  The transport solution effectively quarantines a specimen at the site of collection, which enables surveillance workers to maintain proper infection control, essentially anywhere - even at remote and isolated locations.  When healthcare responders risk their lives to react to deadly epidemics, every measure must be taken to ensure the safety of these heroic people," says Ryan Kemp, Director of Nucleic Acid Solutions at Zymo Research. 

Zymo Research is the manufacturer of DNA/RNA Shield™ technology and makes the reagent available for a number of third party applications.

About ZYMO RESEARCH CORPORATION - Zymo Research Corporation, is a private company based in Irvine, California.  Since 1994, it has been providing the scientific community with comprehensive nucleic acid solutions for DNA and RNA research and epigenetics. Among the company's achievements are the development of the first available micro-elution spin column technology for nucleic acid purification and in 2000 was one of the first companies to offer products for epigenetics-based research. In 2011, Zymo Research launched its genetic/epigenetic services using state of the art Next-Gen sequencing and bioinformatics technologies. To date, Zymo maintains the most comprehensive offering of services for genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptome analysis.  The company's philosophy is to provide the highest quality products in the industry while ensuring they are both simple to use yet robust in their performance. The founder of Zymo Research, Dr. Larry Jia   As a virologist, Dr. Jia has served as Deputy Chairman, Department of Hepatitis Viruses, Institute of Virology, at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science until 1989 before moving to the US.  Besides many original contributions in virology, Dr. Jia`s discovery of West Nile Virus in North America in 1999 highlights the direct impact of his research on viral pathogens in public health.   

1Nowotny N., et al., Euro Surveill 19 (2014): 15

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