Chembio Diagnostics will partner with Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz to develop point-of-care (POC) Zika virus diagnostic tests for Brazil.
Bio-Manguinhos is the unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) that oversees development and production of vaccines, diagnostics, and biopharmaceuticals, primarily to meet the demands of Brazil's national public health system.
Chembio said yesterday it will apply its Dual Path Platform (DPP®) technology—which allows separate detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies—to develop a standalone POC assay to detect Zika virus, as well as a multiplex POC assay to simultaneously detect Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses.
Toward development of these tests, Chembio last month won a $550,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
“We are currently testing the DPP® Zika Assay, multiplex DPP® Zika/Dengue/Chikungunya Assay, and DPP® Micro Reader with clinical specimens from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Malaysia, and the United States,” Javan Esfandiari, Chembio’s chief science and technology officer, said in a statement. “Preliminary testing results are highly encouraging and our ongoing collaborations with Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz and the global scientific community are extremely helpful as we move toward a rapid and affordable solution.”
In addition, Chembio will add Zika to the POC DPP® Fever Panel Assay now under development through a separate grant from the Paul G. Allen Ebola Program. The value of that grant has not been disclosed.
Zika can only be detected now through laboratory diagnostic tests.
Over the last 12 years, Chembio said, it has collaborated with Bio-Manguinhos on a number of POC diagnostic tests, including tests for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, and leishmania.