OraSure gets Zika funding

Thursday, August 25, 2016

OraSure Technologies will get federal funding to develop a Zika test despite Congress’ failure to allocate money to fight the mosquito-borne disease. The south Bethlehem diagnostics company announced Tuesday it had been awarded a contract for up to $16.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The six-year, multi-phased contract includes an initial commitment of $7 million and options for up to an additional $9.6 million “to fund the evaluation of additional product enhancements, and clinical and regulatory activities,” according to OraSure. Specifically, the money is coming from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Although there are currently molecular tests available for Zika, these tests have limited utility because of the short window of time when viral RNA can be detected in patients, OraSure said in a news release. And because anti-Zika antibodies appear in the body soon after infection and stay in the body for longer periods than the virus, the company believes the market for a rapid Zika antibody test is sizable.

Source: Morning Call (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, research