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Vela Diagnostics Awarded BARDA Funding for COVID-19 Test

NEW YORK – Vela Diagnostics announced Monday it has been awarded a contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support development of a COVID-19 assay.

The $225,000 contract will support verification and clinical validation of the firm's probe-based reverse transcription PCR test, called ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR. Support from BARDA is expected to accelerate the progress toward submission of an Emergency Use Authorization application, the firm noted in a statement.

The ViroKey test can be used in automated and manual workflows, according to Vela.

The automated workflow uses the Vela Setosa SX101 instrument and either the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR instrument or the Sentosa SA201 instrument. It can process up to 48 samples per run. The manual assay was developed to enable flexible sample processing and quick adoption of the test by laboratories with existing ABI 7500 Fast Dx instruments.

"High throughput detection of SARS-CoV-2 using our automated workflow will provide rapid and valuable information to save lives," said Sam Dajani, Vela's acting CEO and chairman.

BARDA Director Rick Bright said rapid diagnostic tests can put essential information into the hands of healthcare providers and patients to manage patient care safely and appropriately. "Data gathered from high-throughput testing aids public health officials in making decisions about community mitigation to combat the pandemic," Bright said.

Vela Diagnostics was established in 2011 in Singapore, with regional US operations in Fairfield, New Jersey.