Positive ID (OTC:PSID) Rallies After Detecting Zika Virus

Posted on

PositiveID shares saw a major swell in price on Wednesday after the company revealed that it has successfully detected the Zika Virus on its Firefly Dx Prototype System. Shares nearly doubled in price in mid afternoon trading.

The life sciences company, focused on detection and diagnostics, announced that it has successfully detected the Zika virus on its Firefly Dx polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) breadboard prototype pathogen detection system (“prototype system”).

Zika has been one of the scariest viruses to threaten the country this past year. It is a fever-causing virus transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that can cause microcephaly, a serious congenital condition in which babies are born with head and brain abnormalities, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can result in paralysis.

Common symptoms of Zika infection include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC. Approximately 1 in 5 people infected with the virus shows symptoms.

The company’s news came at an opportune time as a CDC official recently said that thousands may have arrived in the United States with the virus. Federal officials have said they’re concerned about local transmission of the virus.

PositiveID used assay partner GenArraytion, Inc.’s Aedes Aegypti MultiFLEX™ Bioassay test, which targets four genetic regions of the Zika virus, on PositiveID’s Firefly Dx prototype system.

The Zika virus test works with an existing GenArraytion MultiFLEX™ Bioassay panel that targets viruses that cause dengue fever, yellow fever and Chikungunya, which are also carried by the same mosquito and are known to cause febrile disease in humans. This test both identifies and discriminates between the Zika African and Brazilian lineages.

PositiveID is developing the Firefly Dx prototype system to be a handheld, fully automated, lab quality, real-time device able to detect bio-threats at the point of need.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Zika virus remains “pretty concerning” for experts as they learn how it affects pregnant women.

“The reality is one bite, and if you’re pregnant, your baby might be harmed,” Schuchat said at the panel today. “That’s a phenomenal problem.”

“Rapid identification of Zika at the source could drastically help containment measures and therefore control transmission of the virus,” stated William J. Caragol, Chairman and CEO of PositiveID.

“With grave concerns about the effects of Zika on pregnant women, having the ability to quickly and accurately identify Zika and other bio-threats at the point of need without having to take samples back to a lab, which is the fundamental value proposition of Firefly Dx, could help protect the lives of unborn children.”