Atlanta (GA), USA - 18 mai 1998. VITEK 2, the next generation of technology for microbial identification and analysis of antibiotic susceptibility, was unveiled today by bioMérieux at the American Society of Microbiology annual meeting. VITEK 2 is a cutting-edge automated clinical system that provides rapid, highly reliable test results to assist physicians in the management of patients with infection.

"Antibiotic resistance is a global issue that needs to be managed through more careful application of existing antibiotics to ensure that the appropriate therapy has been selected," said Dr. James Jorgensen, professor, departments of medicine, pathology, microbiology and clinical lab sciences, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, and director, microbiology laboratories, University Hospital.

The CDC reported in the May 6th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine that a strain of salmonella resistant to five antibiotics may be responsible for illness in hundreds of thousands of Americans annually. In another case of possible antibiotic resistance, a Westchester County, New York man was infected with of Staphylococcus aureus resistant to vancomycin, one of the most powerful antibiotics available in medicine, when he died in late April.

The VITEK 2 is designed to let clinical laboratories quickly and accurately identify gram positive cocci and gram negative bacilli and assess their resistance to a total of 78 antibiotics. It can also identify yeast and yeast-like organisms. In addition, VITEK 2 is capable of testing 12 antibiotics for effectiveness against Streptococcus pneumoniae, a significant public health threat because of increasing frequency of penicillin resistance.

"VITEK 2 reduces the critical ‘time-to-answer’ phase of testing through better data management and laboratory work flow compared to other microbiology technologies," said Philippe Sans, president of bioMérieux Vitek, manufacturer of VITEK 2. "Doctors learn more quickly what kind of microbe they’re dealing with and what kind of antibiotic would be most effective in treating it. That information lets them make informed decisions about how to best manage their patient, and could reduce the growing problem of bacterial resistance by laboratory analysis of antibiotic susceptibility."

One of the important features of VITEK 2 is TheraTrac® 2, an integrated computer software system that integrates laboratory results, patient clinical information and pharmacy management, according to Mr. Sans.

bioMérieux executives plan to file for Food and Drug Administration approval to market VITEK 2 in the U.S. this June with an introduction to the market in the spring of 1999.