Coronavirus self-test device is now in the works after BARDA granted OraSure Technologies the contract for development with a $710,310 grant. BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) is the federal agency responsible for accelerating the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapies to tackle public health emergencies such as the current Covid-19 pandemic.
BARDA previously secured funding for other companies like Hologic, to develop a high throughput Covid-19 testing device to process over 1000 test samples in under a day. Now BARDA is entrusting OraSure, with its extensive portfolio of other rapid testing devices for Ebola, Hepatitis C, and HIV, to deliver on the task at hand.
The device is supposed to be a rapid testing tool that can be administered by the patient from home with oral fluid samples. A result is given within 20 minutes.
OraSure said that they will be developing the coronavirus self-test device within the next 4 to 6 months, with plans for the product to be out in the U.S market as quickly as possible with the FDA’s accelerated approval.
“The sooner the better” said OraSure CEO, Stephen S. Tang, “but I think what we’re doing will have value for the foreseeable future.”
OraSure have proven themselves as leaders in point-of-care diagnostics, specimen collection and microbiome laboratory and analytical services in the past.
According to the company, the self-test device, would be able to identify the virus with or without symptoms and would not require medical professionals to administer or read results.
If successful, this device can be a game changer for testing in the US, especially since their slow start led to an upward spiral of cases, with mass testing proving inefficient. When compared to countries like Luxembourg, Estonia, South Korea and Iceland with the highest testing rates in the world per 1000, the US can really use a push.
A more decentralized method of testing such as that offered by the device can help identify new virus hotspots throughout the country.