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NIH Funds MBio $5.2M to Develop Influenza Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – MBio Diagnostics today said that it and its collaborators have received a five-year, $5.2 million award from the National Institutes of Health to develop a rapid and inexpensive test for influenza.

The goal of the grant, awarded under NIH's Partnerships for Biodefense program, is to fund development of a nucleic acid-based test that provides the accuracy of laboratory-based molecular tests, but which will be easy to use, inexpensive, and can provide results quickly.

MBio added that it will develop the test to be superior in accuracy to commonly used rapid flu tests, which the company said have issues with sensitivity, and to be deployable in public health screening emergencies, such as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

In a statement, Michael Lochhead, a vice president at MBio and the principal investigator on the grant, said that the new system will build on the point-of-care diagnostic platform already being developed by the company.

"The new NIH award will allow MBio to expand our product pipeline to include increasingly important molecular diagnostics applications," he said, adding that a major goal of the grant is to develop a system that can be quickly reconfigured in response to new or emerging infectious agents.

MBio, based in Boulder, Colo., will partner on the project with viral disease experts at the University of California, San Diego and collaborators at the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, an international non-profit seeking solutions to healthcare problems.

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