Italy-based diagnostics company DiaSorin Group has received a $2.6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to further develop a laboratory test designed to help clinicians identify Zika virus infection in blood samples.
DiaSorin is developing a Zika diagnostic serological test based on the company’s LIAISON XL automated chemiluminescence analyzer that works to simultaneously run tests on up to 120 samples and produce results within an hour, HHS said Monday.
The company will use contract funds to support its diagnostic test development, design improvement, manufacturing preparation and clinical research efforts.
HHS noted that serological tests, which work to examine the body’s immune response to viruses, can help clinicians to determine if a person was recently infected with the mosquito-borne virus.
“Accurate, rapid Zika diagnostic tests to determine whether someone recently has been infected are critical to ensuring the best health outcomes during the current outbreak,“ said Richard Hatchett, acting director for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority under the HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
“Identifying Zika cases more quickly helps people take steps to avoid additional transmission that much sooner, which helps protect pregnant women and others at risk of Zika infection,” Hatchett added.
BARDA has obligated $43.9 million in funds for public-private initiatives to develop Zika vaccines, diagnostics, blood screening tests and pathogen reduction technologies as of August.
HHS said it has repurposed a total of $374 million from other programs across the department to help finance Zika preparedness and response efforts in the U.S.