Hologic Wins $4.1m To Advance Zika Blood Screen
The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) recently granted $4.1m to Hologic to advance development of a blood screen to detect Zika in the blood supply. Also, lawmakers are asking more questions about readiness in the US for detecting emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism-related toxins.
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A blood-screening test made by Hologic in collaboration with Grifols, and another made by Roche Molecular Diagnostics, are being used in a gradual ramp-up of Zika virus screening at blood donation centers across the US under a new FDA program.
HHS and its subagency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has put together additional funding to award Chembio Diagnostic Systems $13.2m to develop and commercialize the firm's rapid point-of-care Zika test, a mere two weeks after the agency said it only had enough funds for Zika vaccine development.
The US Department of Health and Human Services gave up on getting new funding from Congress in 2016 to fight Zika virus, and instead juggled its budget this week to throw $81m at the Zika vaccine effort. And while there has been headway on a test to differentiate Zika from Dengue, HHS Secretary Burwell told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in an Aug. 11 letter that NIH currently lacks funds to support diagnostics and other Zika priorities.