Corgenix receives $2.9 million grant to develop rapid Ebola test

Corgenix Medical Corporation, a diagnostic product developer, announced on Thursday that it received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance its rapid test for Ebola virus.

The three-year, $2.9 million grant is a continuation of a previous two-year grant to develop special proteins for use in testing. The Ebola test would help public health officials to rapidly respond to bioterrorism threats posed by the deadly virus.

"This grant comes at a critical time for Ebola and related virus research," Douglass Simpson, the president and CEO of Corgenix, said. "Ebola virus outbreaks are relatively uncommon, but when they do occur, they are deadly and can spread rapidly. This latest outbreak demonstrates that point-of-care testing will be needed on a routine basis to diagnose or rule out both Ebola and Lassa in West Africa, now that Ebola is present in a Lassa endemic region."

Current Ebola testing requires special biohazard handling and sending samples to special labs in a several-day process. A faster test would result in quicker diagnosis, treatment and implementation of measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Collaborating with Corgenix on the program will be members of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, which is headed by Tulane University.

"Ebola is clearly a problem that's not going away," Robert Garry, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine, said. "This grant allows us to build on our previous Ebola testing research, ultimately putting local and regional governments and healthcare workers in a much better position to identify and contain outbreaks with rapid diagnostic testing."

Ebola has a mortality rate of between 50 and 90 percent.

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