Chembio Diagnostics (CEMI) Receives USDA Grant for Bovine TB POC Diagnostic Test Development
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Chembio Diagnostics, Inc. (Nasdaq: CEMI) announced that the Company has been awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a POC diagnostic test for bovine tuberculosis (TB). The $600,000 grant is managed by the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), a federal agency within the USDA.
Under the two-year grant, Chembio will use its patented DPP® technology to undertake to develop a simple, rapid, accurate and cost-effective test for bovine TB in cattle. The DPP® BovidTB Assay will be designed to provide results within 20 minutes, thereby significantly improving on the time-consuming, tedious and inadequate diagnostic methods currently in use. The DPP® BovidTB Assay will be developed in collaboration with National Animal Disease Center (NADC) and Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI). Chembio is uniquely qualified to develop the DPP® BovidTB Assay, as it has previously developed the DPP® VetTB Assay for captive and farmed cervids, which is currently commercialized and specified in the USDA Veterinary Services guidance document. The Company’s manufacturing facility is registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and licensed by the USDA.
John Sperzel, Chembio's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased to receive this grant from the USDA and optimistic about our ability to develop a POC test for bovine TB, which continues to exact a heavy toll on the global cattle industry. While worldwide bovine TB cost estimates vary, Europe’s highest incidence occurs in England, where the annual cost associated with bovine TB is estimated at £100 million.
Mr. Sperzel continued, “This USDA grant represents another endorsement of our patented DPP® technology platform, which recently received funding to develop a number of fever and tropical disease assays, from organizations such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and United States government agencies.”
Bovine TB is a zoonotic disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. The main method of testing in the U.S. is a tuberculin skin test, in which the animal receives an injection of tuberculin in the skin and is checked for a reaction 72 hours later. More than one million animals receive a tuberculin skin test in the U.S. each year. The U.S. also has a nationwide surveillance program in slaughter plants, where the carcass is examined for lesions consistent with bovine TB and samples are sent to USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories for confirmation. Approximately 11,000 cattle are sampled during slaughter surveillance in the U.S. each year. The current diagnostic methods are believed to be inadequate; therefore, improved tests are urgently needed for disease control and eradication.
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