Asuragen Develops Armored RNA Quant® Zika Virus Control

Austin, Texas August 9, 2016 – Asuragen, Inc., a global molecular diagnostics company, announced today the launch of custom Armored RNA Quant® Zika Virus target for use in developing molecular assays.  Asuragen’s proprietary Armored RNA Quant® technology is the gold standard for reliable, traceable standards for use with molecular assays developed for virus quantitation.

The rapid emergence and spread of the Zika Virus globally has created an immediate need for high sensitivity and specificity assays for detection.  Asuragen’s Armored RNA® technology has been widely used for qualitative and quantitative controls in the infectious diseases space since the emergence of molecular amplification-based assays for HIV and HCV in the 1990s. The development of a custom Armored RNA Quant® Zika target extends this unique capability to the assessment of this new, highly virulent and rapidly spreading global infectious disease.

In collaboration with one of the leading experts in viral molecular diagnostics, Professor Jan Felix Drexler, Institute of Virology, University of Bonn Medical Center and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Asuragen has developed a control that specifically targets critical, conserved regions of the Brazil Zika virus.

“Asuragen’s Armored RNA Quant® Zika Virus material will enable researchers across the European Virology Archive, and other similar networks globally, to reliably and accurately assess assay performance across the broad range of several commercial assays and locally developed tests that have come into existence since the start of the Zika epidemic.  The existence of a defined, non-infectious reference material will aid laboratories in harmonizing results and will support advancing our understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of the Zika virus,” said Professor Jan Felix Drexler.

Asuragen and Prof. Drexler developed a multi-gene target designed from unique, conserved sequences of seven genes from the Zika Brazilian reference sequence KU321639.  The utility of a multi-target control for Zika virus detection has recently been demonstrated by a collaborative study from European virologists in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization [Article]. These Zika target sequences are encapsulated in a pseudo-viral particle using Asuragen’s Armored RNA Quant® technology. An accurately quantified titer, determined through an analytical method using a National Institute of Standards Technology traceable standard, provides utility as a quantitative control and process control and is also highly stable and non-infectious.

“Asuragen has developed Armored RNA Quant® controls for the majority of diagnostic companies with molecular assays in infectious disease,” said Matthew McManus, MD, PhD, Asuragen’s President and CEO. “We are committed to leveraging our Armored RNA® technologies to develop high quality controls in response to emerging viral threats such as Ebola in 2015 and now for Zika.“

*Research Use Only.  Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

About Asuragen
Asuragen is a global diagnostic products company delivering solutions that build knowledge and understanding of complex clinical questions. Asuragen’s application of its deep scientific heritage and molecular expertise delivers diagnostic products in oncology and genetics that provide the best answers with optimal workflows – so time can be spent delivering actionable insights, rather than searching for them. With innovative approaches to kit development and a broad range of molecular chemistries, Asuragen produces assays that ensure reproducible results. From discovery and development to regulatory support to global commercialization, we also provide a tailored approach that efficiently delivers custom and companion diagnostic products for our partners. For more information, visit

Lynne Hohlfeld
Asuragen, Inc.
SVP, Corporate Development and CFO
PH: 512.681.5200


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