DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS FOR DETECTING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Through its collaboration with Columbia University (USA), Beroni has secured the distribution rights to markets like Australia, Saudi Arabia, USA, China, Japan and India for the distribution of the CII-ArboViroPlex rRT-PCR assay, a diagnostic kit used to detect viruses such as Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, and West Nile.
This business is handled by our US subsidiary company, Beroni USA Corporation which was established in late 2018.
Zika Virus, an enduring public health concern
Infectious diseases represent a major cause of death worldwide. Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Zika virus became the next virus to create a significant public health concern. Since then, Zika virus has spread widely throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean, and continues to proliferate today, despite no longer being classified as a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. Although Zika virus is mainly spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, transmission through sexual intercourse and from pregnant mothers to fetuses has also been documented. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded Zika virus infection during pregnancy as a cause of congenital microcephaly and severe brain abnormalities, known as congenital Zika syndrome. Zika virus has also been linked to other problems in pregnancies such as miscarriages, stillbirths, and other birth defects. Therefore, it is increasingly important to diagnose and manage these conditions with speed and accuracy.
An urgent need for accurate testing
The diagnosis of Zika virus infection can only be confirmed through laboratory tests of blood or other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen. However, there are frequent cases in which testing of different fluids gives discrepant results, and additional studies are needed to assess diagnostic accuracy.
Furthermore, as Zika virus is from the same family as Dengue and Yellow Fever viruses, which can potentially induce cross reaction, and may produce similar symptoms to Chikungunya virus, it is critical that the diagnostic tests are highly specific to Zika virus to avoid a misinterpretation and reduce the potential risk of false-positive results.
What this means for patients and health providers
An accurate and swift diagnosis of Zika virus infection in pregnant women, women who are planning a pregnancy, as well as their respective partners, is especially important to give healthcare professionals the knowledge to initiate additional testing, if necessary. It can also help give women the confidence to make an informed decision about their care and that of their unborn child.
An accurate diagnosis is also important in safely reducing the risk of contaminated blood and providing patients and healthcare providers with the confidence and reassurance of safe transfusions. Zika can be devastating for patients with weaker immune systems such as the elderly, or people living with cancer (also people who are more likely to receive a blood transfusion). Therefore, safely reducing the risk of contaminated blood is critical to provide patients and healthcare systems with the confidence and reassurance of safe transfusions.
It is important as well, to have a very specific Zika virus assay to perform epidemiological studies to help judge when a population is at risk from herd immunity.
Beroni understands the urgent need to respond quickly to global healthcare concerns and emergencies and to initiate integrated solutions and tailored diagnostic solutions for patients. It is only through a collaborative effort that we are able to provide needed diagnostic solutions for complex infectious diseases like Zika.