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Rheonix's Dual Immunoassay, NAAT Zika Test Wins Supplemental SBIR Funding

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Rheonix announced today it has received an administrative supplement to an existing Small Business Innovation Research Phase I/II grant to develop an automated assay for Zika virus and infection.

The award, which totals $656,414, was granted to Rheonix and collaborators at the New York University College of Dentistry by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health.

"The Zika virus appears to disappear from blood in six to 10 days, but is still detectable in saliva and urine," Daniel Malamud, Rheonix's collaborator at NYUCD said in a statement. "Anti-Zika antibodies can be detected several days after infection. A combined RNA and antibody test will enable detection of both early and late Zika virus infections."

The Zika test will build on a successful collaboration between Rheonix and NYUCD to develop a "self-confirming" dual assay for HIV antibodies and viral RNA in a single specimen, Rheonix said.

The test will be based on the company's CARD cartridge and the Encompass Optimum workstation. It requires a small amount of raw saliva or blood sample and performs automated extraction, purification, amplification, and detection. Rheonix's HIV test uses reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification, but the firm has not specified how it will amplify nucleic acids in the Zika test.