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OraSure Technologies Awarded $8.6M BARDA Contract for Next-Gen Ebola Test

NEW YORK – OraSure Technologies announced on Wednesday that it has been awarded an $8.6 million contract from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

The contract will support the development of a second-generation rapid antigen test for the Ebola virus.

The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based firm obtained de novo authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019 for a 30-minute Ebola test called OraQuick Ebola, which remains the only rapid antigen test for Ebola virus authorized by the FDA.

The first-generation test is authorized for use with whole blood or cadaveric samples, and has been used extensively during Ebola outbreaks in Africa to test cadavers, the firm said in a statement.

The next-generation test will have "improved sensitivity, increased shelf life, new chemistry, and more automation," OraSure said.

Lisa Nibauer, OraSure's president of diagnostics, noted that Ebola impacts some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. "Whether it be our response to the HIV epidemic, our work to counter the global COVID-19 pandemic, or this project, OraSure has increasingly partnered with the US federal government to counter some of the largest public health challenges we face across the globe," she added.