PositiveID adds Listeria to Pathogens detected by FireflyDX onsite detection prototype

FireflyDX prototype can also detect E. coli and other pathogens in minutes. PositiveID’s (“PositiveID” or “Company”) ExcitePCR subsidiary announced it successfully tested for Listeria bacterium on its FireflyDX breadboard prototype pathogen detection system (“prototype system”), being developed to detect pathogens at the point of need, which in this case could be a food processing facility.
Listeria was amplified on the FireflyDX prototype system using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) chemistry.

Listeria – A Deadly Infection

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, most commonly found in dairy products and produce. Listeria is dangerous for pregnant women and their newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, as it can cause miscarriage and meningitis. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get a Listeria infection. Most people found to have Listeria infection require hospital care and 1 in 5 will die from the infection. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year.

Critical Need for Onsite Food Safety Testing

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, roughly 1 in 6 people in the U.S. gets sick from eating contaminated food. The 1,000 or more reported outbreaks that happen each year reveal familiar culprits – salmonella and other common germs.

PositiveID is developing the FireflyDX family of products to automate real-time pathogen detection at the point of care/point of need (POC/PON) faster and less expensively than existing devices.

The ability to detect pathogens at the point of need rather than in a traditional laboratory setting, which can take several days to get results, could enable faster quarantine measures to stop the spread of illness before it becomes widespread.

Food safety is a field we believe FireflyDX’s family of products could be of the greatest value to producers and consumers,” stated Kimothy Smith, Chief Science Officer of ExcitePCR. “Deployment at a food processing facility or pen-side in the case of livestock testing could drastically reduce food-borne illness outbreaks by stopping contaminated food from entering the food chain.

Listeria Monitoring

Currently, Listeria infections are monitored through the CDC’s Listeria Initiative, a surveillance system that collects reports of laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis in the U.S. The Listeria Initiative interviews all patients with Listeria infection to collect detailed information about the foods people ate before they got sick.

The FireflyDX prototype system has also successfully detected E. coli, a common food-borne illness.

Once commercialized, FireflyDX’s on-site pathogen detection applications are expected to include human clinical, such as infectious disease and hospital acquired infections, global food and agricultural screening, and biological warfare and biothreat defense.