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Qiagen Nabs $598K in BARDA Funding to Add SARS-CoV-2 to Respiratory Pathogen Panel

NEW YORK – Qiagen said on Friday that it will receive $598,000 in funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop a version of its QiaStat-Dx Respiratory Panel that will be able to differentiate the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from 21 other common respiratory pathogens.
 
The funding is being provided through a streamlined process called an easy broad agency announcement (EZ-BAA), which is managed by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response's (ASPR's) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
 
Qiagen said that the BARDA funding will accelerate evaluation of the QiaStat-Dx testing cartridge, which runs on the company’s fully automated QiaStat-Dx platform. The panel is expected to be able to aid in the diagnosis of patients with respiratory symptoms in about an hour by differentiating SARS-CoV-2 from other bacterial and viral pathogens. The panel will include assays targeting two genes used to detect the novel coronavirus.
 
The current QiaStat-Dx Respiratory Panel and QiaStat-Dx platform have CE marking and US Food and Drug Administration clearance. As reported in early February, Qiagen is developing the expanded respiratory panel as well as a more straightforward real-time RT-PCR assay for the direct detection of only SARS-CoV-2.
 
"Our team is partnering with customers and public health authorities worldwide to quickly scale up capacity for coronavirus testing, and also to make available the sample-to-insight QiaStat-Dx respiratory panel with SARS-CoV-2 detection," Thierry Bernard, interim CEO of Qiagen and senior vice president and head of molecular diagnostic, said in a statement.
 
"We have scaled up production to respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19, moving to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations at two key sites, investing to expand capacity by 70 percent and adding staff," Bernard added. "Our top priority is producing the QIAamp and EZ1 sample technologies recommended in the US Centers for Disease Control guidelines for testing, as well as the new QIAstat-Dx cartridges. We are working closely with laboratories, hospitals, and other customers around the world to assess their flexibility, timing, and quantity needs."
 
Qiagen is in the process of being acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific in an $11.5 billion deal.