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Rockeby Biomed Sets Rights To Avian Bird Flu Test

Avian Bird Flu test generates new opportunities for Rockeby Biomed

21 November 2005: The announcement by Rockeby biomed on 11 November regarding the company's exclusive marketing and distribution rights to two rapid tests for bird flu has generated considerable interest worldwide.

Rockeby has also confirmed it has received the first stock of the test and is expected to begin distribution in South East Asia by 1st December 2005

Rockeby is currently assessing a number of new opportunities following significant world wide interest in the Rockeby Avian H5N1 Virus Antigen Test. These include:

Numerous request for both products as they are launched and promoted at the Medica International Trade Fair and Congress in Dusseldorf Germany, from 16 to 19 November 2005.

The supply of the poultry test to the largest poultry producer in Jordan in the Middle East, which handles about 10 million birds per year

A Japanese maker of veterinary medicinal products, has express interest in distributing the Avian Influenza test in Japan and other Asian countries. They will also apply for the product registration of the test in Japan on Rockeby’s behalf. The Japanese company has been engaged in production of recombinant vaccine against H5N1 avian influenza.

The Indonesian government’s Veterinary department.

A veterinary practice in East Malaysia that tends to agricultural animals has expressed interest in obtaining the tests, or acting as the local distributor if the territory is not already covered.

"Rockeby's new avian flu test kits clearly meet a desperate need for a quick, reliable means of screening for infection. Companies and governments around the world are very keen to minimize the potential for bird flu infections within their flocks and its spread to humans," said Dr Sze-Wee Tan, chief executive of Rockeby. "Our kits can assist them to achieve this goal."

"The World Health Organization has recently highlighted the weakness of routine veterinary surveillance in many countries, a situation that has been exacerbated by the lack of a suitable, easy to use test," he said.

Additionally, Rockeby will participate in a clinical evaluation trial being conducted jointly by the Murdoch University’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences together with representatives from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore and the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong SAR Government. They will conduct a comparative evaluation of the sensitivity of the Avian Influenza Virus antigen detection tests on H5N1 infected swabs from various bird species. This includes cloacal swabs, cloacal plus tracheal swabs or fresh faecel swabs from chickens, various other land based poultry, ducks and geese and various wild birds. The trial will be conducted in December in Hong Kong.

Rockeby's new tests are for the detection of subtype H5N1 of influenza A virus, the agent that causes the bird flu that has been found to infect humans who come into close contact with birds, causing serious and often fatal disease.

One of the tests is a rapid screening method that measures bird flu proteins in samples taken from human nose or throat. The other is a veterinary diagnostic for on-site testing of bird faeces.

Both tests rely on immunological detection of viral protein and have the advantages of being self-contained and yielding the result within 10 minutes of application of the sample to the testing device.

About bird flu subtype H5N1

Subtype H5N1 has been shown recently to infect humans and trigger an aggressive clinical response, causing severe disease that often proves fatal, even in previously healthy adults and children.

Influenza experts worldwide are concerned that H5N1 has met two of the three criteria for a global outbreak of bird flu in humans, or so-called 'pandemic', and many believe that it is only a matter of time before such an outbreak occurs.

The two criteria are that H5N1 is a new form of virus and it causes serious disease in humans. At this stage, it is not highly infectious and readily transmitted between humans, but mutation may change that situation.

To date, the 100 or so people known to have been infected with bird flu (about 50% of whom died as a result) have had direct contact with birds and their faeces.

Domestic ducks have become 'silent' reservoirs of the virus – they shed a high number of viral particles in their faeces, but show no symptoms of the disease.

About Rockeby biomed:

Rockeby biomed Limited is an ASX-listed (ASX: RBY) biotechnology company engaged primarily in the research, development and marketing of products for the diagnosis and treatment of fungal infections in humans. The company's main market is that of in-vitro diagnostic testing which covers serology tests in hospitals as well as point-of-care products for use by consumers or health professionals operating outside hospitals.

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