HEALTH

New diabetes saliva-based diagnostic test in the works

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUSTON A new saliva-based test for the identification and diagnosis of diabetes is under development, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists announced Tuesday.

Research promoting a painless new method for detecting diabetes, utilizing saliva, will be presented May 15, at the AACE’s 18th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress in Houston.

While searching for biomarkers that may indicate diabetes, doctors examined the saliva of 40 patients. Through salivary analysis, they managed to devise a new “non-invasive” method for detecting diabetes that foregoes the uncomfortable prick of a needle — patients need only to spit into a cup. The spit test could be performed for little cost in a doctor’s office or at a patient’s home.

“Our goal was to characterize proteins in human saliva that may indicate prediabetes and Type-2,” stated Srinivasa Nagalla, a member of the research team. “Analysis of these proteins allowed us to develop a new method for screening, detecting and monitoring the diabetic state.”

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Obama administration mobilizes flu meds, declares public health emergency

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Obama administration mobilized government stockpiles of flu medicines Sunday afternoon, declaring a public health emergency, following an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in the morning that confirmed 20 U.S. cases of swine flu to date.

“President [Barack] Obama is very concerned about the recent cases of swine flu that have been identified in the United States, as well as the outbreak in Mexico,” stated John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, during a special press conference Sunday afternoon. “At this point a top priority is to ensure that communication is robust and that medical surveillance efforts are fully activated. This will enable both the rapid identification and broad notification of any new cases that may occur in the U.S., as well as in Mexico.”

A public health emergency was declared by the Department of Health and Human Services as a way to free up federal, state, and local agencies and their resources for prevention and mitigation. “It allows us to use medication and diagnostic tests that we might not otherwise be able to use, particularly on very young children; and it releases funds for the acquisition of additional antivirals,” Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, told reporters Sunday.

The government currently has approximately50 million treatment courses of antiviral drugs — Tamiflu and Relenza — in the strategic national stockpile, Napolitano said. “We are releasing 25% of those courses, making them available to all of the states, but particularly prioritizing the states where we already have confirmed incidents of the flu. In addition, the Department of Defense has procured and strategically prepositioned 7 million treatment courses of Tamiflu.”

The government expects the number of swine-flu related cases to grow from the initial 20 identified so far.

“As we look for cases of swine flu, we are seeing more cases of swine flu,” stated Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC. “We expect to see more cases of swine flu.”

In New York City, where there’s been a cluster of swine-flu related disease in a school, that school has been closed for Monday, Besser reported.

“There’s a similar situation in Texas,” he said. “If there are other communities where we saw cases in a school, we would be recommending that they take those actions as well.”

Besser noted that the swine flu outbreak in the United States has been relatively mild — of the 20 cases identified, 19 have recovered and only one person has been hospitalized.

“What we know about this virus is it looks to be the same virus as is causing the situation in Mexico. And given the reports out of Mexico, I would expect that over time we’re going to see more severe disease in this country,” Besser cautioned.

As part of its response, CDC is already moving forward on the possible development of a vaccine.

“We’ve created that seed stock, we’ve identified that virus, and discussions are underway so that should we decide to work on manufacturing a vaccine, we can work towards that goal very quickly,” Besser said.

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Home Diagnostics’ TRUE2go receives design award

BY Michael Johnsen

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Home Diagnostics on Monday announced that the company’s TRUE2go blood glucose meter was awarded a Medical Design Excellence Award.

“Our team is honored to be recognized for our commitment to innovation and design with a Medical Design Excellence Award for TRUE2go,” stated Joe Capper, president and CEO of Home Diagnostics. “This award is a testament to the dedication of the Home Diagnostics team for creating products that deliver outstanding performance and value while helping people with diabetes manage their disease in a way that fits their individual lifestyles.”

The MDEA competition recognizes the achievements of medical product manufacturers responsible for the innovations that are changing the face of healthcare. Small enough to twist and attach to the top of a vial of test strips, TRUE2go delivers precise results in as fast as four seconds using only 0.5 microliters of blood. In clinical testing, TRUE2go achieved a high degree of accuracy and repeatability, and was considered easy to use. TRUE2go uses the company’s new TRUEtest platform of blood glucose test strips featuring the company’s patent-pending GoldSensor laser accuracy and TRUEfill beveled tip, which ensures highly accurate test results and first test success.

The 2009 Medical Design Excellence Award winners will be honored at a ceremony during the Medical Design & Manufacturing East Conference and Exposition, June 9-11, 2009, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

TRUE2go is available at retailers nationwide for only $9.99 in many retail locations.

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