New virus detection technology to curb the spread of plant-born pathogens in greenhouses

PathogenDx launched a new virus detection technology - Phytox - to help curb the spread of new and existing plant-born pathogens, which are currently on the rise. The new Asymmetric RT-PCR microarray technology for the cannabis, food, and agriculture sectors is capable of detecting nine viruses or more in a single test and provides simultaneous, accurate viral detection in approximately three hours. In addition, when compared to current viral testing technologies on the market today, Phytox saves testing labs 70% in costs and delivers up to 100 times greater sensitivity when detecting specific viruses.

"It's crucial that Phytox becomes the new industry standard in order to protect public health and prevent producers from losing yields to pathogens that can cause huge economic damages," said PathogenDx Co-founder and CEO Milan Patel. "Our technology shatters nearly all of the testing technology standards today for accuracy and efficiency in plant virus and pathogen detection. It is easy to administer and extraordinarily cost-effective, presenting a win-win scenario for both businesses and public health alike."

Patel added, "With the challenges that climate change presents to global food supplies, we anticipate seeing more pathogens emerge - just as we have for the last several years. These unknowns have the potential to present a grave public health danger, which could catastrophically impact crops, global food supplies, and lives. By using smart next-gen technologies like Phytox, together, we're helping curb the spread of pathogens that have dire consequences. Our hope is to create a safer future today while simultaneously helping operators protect their yields and consumers."

With triplicate testing of each of the major nine viruses of concern [Hop Latent Viroid, Beet Curly Top Virus, Lettuce Chlorosis Virus, Cannabis Cryptic Virus, Alfalfa Mosaic Virus, Arabis Mosaic Virus, Tobacco Streak Virus, and Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Cucumber Mosaic Virus], within a single reaction, PathogenDx's Phytox offers 100% assurance that there are no false positives, and the technology was validated from 240 field samples across viruses delivering 100% specificity. When compared to the current viral testing technologies that are commonly used in cannabis, food, and agriculture - namely RT-qPCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ("ELISA") - Phytox possesses up to 100 times greater sensitivity, detecting specific viruses accurately at a much more granular level.

By simultaneously testing for nine viruses that have historically been shown to pose as threats to cannabis, food, and agricultural crops - compared to the RT-qPCR, which can identify at most three or four viral targets in a single test, and ELISA, which can identify only one - Phytox produces comprehensive results quicker, more effectively and more cost-efficiently. To test for the same nine viruses of concern using RT-qPCR would cost a lab 70% more than using Phytox, and using ELISA would cost even more.

Patel added, "As the cannabis, food, and agricultural industries are confronted with new and different viruses, the beauty of the Phytox technology is its content scalability, where additional viral targets can be added in a fraction of time, cost and effort, thus ensuring 'future proofing' capability of the technology."

Phytox utilizes standard equipment any testing lab would have on hand, foregoing special training for lab technicians aside from clipping and preparing the samples. While other technologies need to test anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 cells per reaction for detection, Phytox has superior sensitivity and detects viruses of concern with 100% accuracy using only 10 to 100 cells per reaction. In addition, whereas the RT-qPCR test stops after it reaches the threshold of detecting one virus - which can lead to misdiagnosis - Phytox amplifies the viral target DNA to its endpoint, identifying viruses without cross-reactivity and preventing misdiagnosis.

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