NEW YORK — Diagnostic firm Immy said on Tuesday that it has been awarded a $1.5 million Phase II contract from the National Institutes of Health to develop a point-of-care test for talaromycosis, an infection caused by the fungus Talaromyces marneffei.
T. marneffei — formerly known as Penicillium marneffei — can be transmitted through airborne inhalation, and infection with the fungus can lead to death in immunocompromised individuals. Talaromycosis is endemic in Southeast Asia.
Immy said that it has developed a prototype lateral flow assay designed to detect T. marneffei antigens in human urine within 15 minutes. With the NIH funding, the Norman, Oklahoma-based company aims to scale and validate the manufacturing of the test, then work with collaborators at the Duke University School of Medicine to perform the studies needed for its regulatory approval.
The test, Immy said, would enable doctors in the most remote districts and villages in Southeast Asia to make a talaromycosis diagnosis without having to refer patients to central hospitals, enabling early antifungal treatment.