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Cepheid, USAID to Partner on Multidrug-Resistant TB National Action Plan

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cepheid announced today that it has signed an agreement stipulating its intention to support the White House's National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The firm signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is expected to be later followed by a collaborative agreement detailing terms.

Released in late December, the National Action Plan calls for scaling up proven TB technologies and supporting continued innovation, with the goal of correctly diagnosing and treating half of all MDR-TB-infected patients in countries with the highest burdens by 2020.

"As a result of Cepheid's leadership in developing and rolling out innovative TB diagnostic techniques, people with TB or MDR-TB can now get an accurate diagnosis and start taking life-saving medicines within just a few hours, rather than having to wait weeks for their test results," Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID assistant administrator for global health, said in a statement, adding that this will "dramatically increase our ability to save lives and bring us closer to our goal of creating a TB-free world."

The World Health Organization endorsed the Xpert MTB/RIF test in 2010, and the firm has since delivered more than 4,000 GeneXpert testing systems and 15 million test cartridges to high-burden developing countries, Cepheid's chairman and CEO John Bishop noted.

"The introduction of our portable, battery-operated and wireless communication-enabled GeneXpert Omni later this year is expected to enable laboratory-quality molecular diagnostics to be deployed even closer to patients in resource-limited areas," Bishop said, adding, "With innovations like these, the global community has the opportunity, for the first time, to coordinate access to precision medicine strategies enabling achievement of the 2020 goals."