The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Chembio Diagnostic Systems $5.9 million in initial contract funds to develop a lateral-flow serological test to identify antibodies produced by the human immune system in response to Zika virus.
HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will provide the funds to support the test’s continued development, manufacturing preparations and clinical research over the next year, HHS said Thursday.
“Developing safe and effective diagnostic tests, vaccines, and blood screens are essential in curbing the spread of the Zika virus,“ said Richard Hatchett, BARDA acting director.
“We are working to move medical products through the development pipeline to reach the market as quickly as possible so that doctors and other healthcare providers have the information they need to guide clinical management,“ Hatchett added.
BARDA could extend its contract with Chembio for up to three years, with a potential total value of $13.2 million.
The authority has obligated nearly $57 million to help industry partners develop Zika vaccines, diagnostics, blood screening tests and pathogen reduction technologies.
Chembio must obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market the company’s serological test for Zika virus.