HHS announces development of novel anthrax infection blood test

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday that it will support the development of a rapid blood test for anthrax infection detection to increase response capability during an anthrax attack.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will assist the development of the rapid blood test. The test would increase the national capability to respond effectively to a potential anthrax attack, as early detection is key in the treatment of an anthrax infection.

The HHS hopes the new technology can be used to respond to an anthrax attack detected by routine bioterrorism surveillance technology already in place throughout the country. The test must first gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"This project is the first that BARDA will sponsor to develop new diagnostics for biothreats for use during public health emergencies," BARDA Director Robin Robinson said. "Quickly identifying people exposed to anthrax is crucial to providing appropriate care."

MRIGlobal and Life Technologies will collaborate with BARDA on the development of the test. The contract issued to MRIGlobal is valued at approximately $1.6 million over the course of 15 months. The ABI7500 Fast Dx laboratory testing instrument, developed by Life Technologies, will be used in the development process.