Igenex launches advanced testing methods for rapid diagnosis of Bartonella infections

IGeneX is excited to announce the availability of their newly-developed, advanced testing methods to aid in the diagnosis of patients infected with Bartonella, an emerging epidemic with potentially disabling and life-threatening consequences.

Despite the rising incidence of Bartonella, until now diagnostic tests for these organisms have been grossly insensitive and have not been able to detect many of the ever-growing list of species and strains known to exist. Currently, available serological and molecular tests lack sensitivity, can require repeated blood sampling, and may take weeks for results to be reported. The new IGeneX test methods have overcome many of these obstacles. "Thanks to countless hours of research, highly sensitive and widely inclusive testing is now available from IGeneX that will detect most of these clinically relevant, disease-causing Bartonella species," said Dr. Shah, CEO of IGeneX.

Bartonella comprises a group of globally distributed and highly diverse alpha-proteobacteria that can infect a wide range of mammals. Over the last two decades, more than 30 species have been identified, and several have been associated with a diverse spectrum of cardiovascular, neurologic, obstetric and rheumatologic disease manifestations in animals and humans. These bacteria are transmitted by vectors such as fleas, ticks, lice, and biting flies, and can be accidentally transmitted by animal scratches, bites and needle sticks. Thus, individuals working or living with animals, or those with high exposure to fleas, ticks, lice, and biting flies are at high risk of acquiring the Bartonella infection.

New Testing Technology

Using information derived from DNA sequencing of PCR products of patients' samples positive by Bartonella Genus PCR, the research team at IGeneX developed the newly available Bartonella Western Blots and the Bartonella IgXSpot, an Enzyme-linked ImmunoSpot assay.

The Bartonella Multi-Species Western blot detects Bartonella genus-specific IgM and IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma. Also, it will identify and differentiate B. henselae, B. vinsonii, B. quintana and B. elizabethae.

The Bartonella IgXSpot is an Enzyme-linked ImmunoSpot assay that detects human T-cells reactive to Bartonella specific antigens in vitro. The Bartonella IgXSpot will detect specific T-cell responses very early - soon after the onset of infection - when antibodies to the organisms are not yet detectable, as well as late in the disease when the levels of antibodies can be very low. It is also useful in patients who are immunosuppressed or who have an immunoglobulin deficiency. Hence, this assay is especially useful for seronegative patients.

These new tests are more sensitive, inclusive, and specific than currently available assays and will provide a diagnosis within just a few days.

"I always thought I was a hypochondriac. Doctors told me it was just 'stress' or 'all in my head,' but I finally figured it out and you can too. … The best lab to do this is called IGeneX." -CF, a resident of California

Full-Spectrum Testing

When the Bartonella IgXSpot test is combined with Bartonella Western Blots, FISH and PCR testing, one can obtain information on the full spectrum of the patient's immune response to the infection and stage of the disease.

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