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Siemens Awarded $8.9M to Develop Zika Test

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Siemens Healthineers has been awarded $8.9 million to advance development of a Zika assay, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced recently.

The award was provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The funding will go toward the development of an immunoassay for use on Siemens' Advia Centaur XPT, Advia Centaur XP, and Advia Centaur CP systems. Siemens said that it expects the assay will also be developed for its Atelllica Solution system.

The assay would be able to detect IgM antibodies that are specific to the Zika virus. IgM antibodies are early indicators of disease, which emerge soon after the onset of Zika-related symptoms. They remain detectable for about 12 weeks after infection.

"With the availability of a Zika IgM assay on our systems, both mid- and high-volume clinical laboratories will have the ability to easily integrate Zika testing into their existing immunoassay testing workflows to inform fast, accurate clinical decisions," said Franz Walt, president of laboratory diagnostics at Siemens, in a statement.

In July, the US Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization for Siemens' real-time molecular PCR Zika virus assay, the Versant Zika RNA 1.0 Assay Kit.