CDC and BD Partner to Fight Zika

Close image of a mosquito on skin

CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) Program is transforming disease detection and response through next-generation genomic sequencing and other advanced laboratory technologies. Partnerships are critical for implementing innovative AMD methods, which can produce cost-effective and reliable diagnostics and improve public health outcomes. As of October 2016, CDC is working with BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) in Puerto Rico on a project to develop and validate diagnostic assays for Zika virus on the company’s BD MAX™ system, which is a complete, fully-automated, real-time molecular testing platform. By adapting and validating these molecular assays on this system, which is widely used in clinical labs throughout the world, CDC and BD hope to help translate these tests into routine diagnostic practice in a way that will benefit both industry and public health alike.

This collaboration is currently in the early stages, but the results are already showing promise. Since the BD MAX system was received and installed at CDC’s Puerto Rico laboratories in April 2016, preliminary testing using CDC’s existing Zika PCR assay already suggests that the results obtained by the system are equivalent to conventional testing on simulated samples, with a workflow that is much simpler and more automated. The next step in evaluating and validating the Zika assay on this platform is to begin testing on known positive and negative blood samples. The Zika virus diagnostic assay is one of several CDC-developed PCR assays that will be adapted to this platform, providing an important new set of standardized tools for clinical and public health testing. Through partnership with BD and other diagnostic vendors, CDC hopes to continue to use cutting-edge laboratory-developed tests for emerging infectious diseases and adapt them for routine clinical testing, improving the health of people throughout the world.