The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) awarded a $5.1 million, two-year contract to InBios International, Inc., on Monday for a newer, faster Zika virus diagnostic blood test.
InBios’ test may have the ability to return results in approximately four hours instead of the contemporary two or three day waiting period for Zika virus tests used by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control (CDC). The test, known as a serological test, detects a Zika virus-specific Immunoglobin M, which are antibodies produced by the body’s immune response to the virus. InBios said that providing a faster test to clinical laboratories would increase Zika testing capacity significantly nationwide.
The awarded funding will go to support the test’s design, manufacturing preparations and clinical studies — all of which are necessary for eventual approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The situation in Puerto Rico, the increasing number of Zika cases in the continental United States, and the potential for local transmission are of great concern,” Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie said. “Doctors and patients need Zika test results quickly so that health care providers can offer appropriate guidance and treatment to their patients, particularly pregnant women and their partners.”