March 18, 2020 / 3:07 PM / 14 days ago

U.S. health agency to fund Mesa Biotech's coronavirus diagnostic test

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Wednesday it would provide technical expertise and funding to Mesa Biotech Inc for the development of its coronavirus diagnostic test.

The Accula COVID-19 diagnostic test requires minimal sample handling, and a 30-minute sample-to-result time, according to the U.S. agency.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will give $561,330 to the privately owned Mesa and the company can then seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization for the test within two months.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday agreed to fund two diagnostic tests being developed by DiaSorin Molecular LLC and Qiagen NV that may detect respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus in about an hour.

Wednesday’s funding is the fourth molecular diagnostic to receive development funding from BARDA for coronavirus that has killed more than 8,400 worldwide and 109 in the United States.

Separately, the FDA on Friday approved emergency authorization for a faster coronavirus test made by Swiss diagnostics maker Roche Holding AG which can provide results in 3.5 hours and can produce up to 4,128 results daily.

The HHS, which has declared coronavirus a public health emergency, has been trying to ramp up diagnostic capabilities that can quickly and accurately diagnose coronavirus.

Reporting by Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Vinay Dwivedi

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