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  • NHRC Cleared by CDC to Test for Zika Virus

    SAN DIEGO – The Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) was cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test clinical specimens for Zika virus April 4.

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    NHRC is one of six laboratories in California, three of which are located in Southern California, that are authorized at this time to use the Trioplex Real-time RT-PCR Assay (Trioplex rRT-PCR), a new test developed by the CDC, to detect Zika virus.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing the CDC’s test to be distributed to qualified laboratories in their Laboratory Response Network (LRN), an integrated network of domestic and international laboratories that respond to public health emergencies.
    “Having the ability to test for Zika virus means that we can support expediting the diagnosis of this dangerous disease,” said Dr. Christopher Myers, department head for biosurveillance at NHRC. “It also provides support to our local military and civilian hospitals that evaluate patients with travel histories to affected areas, such as Southeast Asia and South America.”
    The test is not available in local hospitals and clinics, but samples from patients who meet the CDC Zika clinical and epidemiological criteria will be referred to LRN laboratories designated by the CDC. The Trioplex rRT-PCR also tests for the dengue and chikungunya viruses, whose early symptoms resemble Zika, and will enable health care professionals to determine which, if any, of these infections a patient has using one test.
    As the DoD’s premier deployment health research center, NHRC’s cutting-edge research and development is used to optimize the operational health and readiness of the nation’s armed forces. In proximity to more than 95,000 active duty service members, world-class universities, and industry partners, NHRC sets the standard in joint ventures, innovation, and translational research.