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Tackling hepatitis C elimination via diagnostic technologies

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), on World Hepatitis Day 2018, announced the outcome of a new process whereby diagnostic startup companies had pitched ideas to meet the diagnostic needs for hepatitis C virus. For those research institutes and new ventures selected, grants will be awarded. The funding will be used to conduct feasibility studies of various technologies.

World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year. The event aims to raise global awareness of hepatitis, the group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, and to encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the viral disease. Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus that primarily affects the liver. If the infection is left untreated for many years, some people with hepatitis C will develop scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).

Those selected are Abbott, BLINK-DX, and Diagnostics for the Real World, who will receive support to advance potential hepatitis C RNA tests on a polyvalent, true point-of-care molecular platform. This will seek to generated clinically actionable data in lower level health facilities.

A second recipient is Chembio Diagnostics, Mologic and DCN Diagnostics. This partnership will be given support to develop and validate prototype hepatitis C core antigen tests using an innovative rapid diagnostic test platform. John Sperzel, Chembio’s Chief Executive Officer said in response to the grant: “We are pleased to collaborate with FIND on this important global health initiative, addressing the burden caused by the hepatitis C virus. Our DPP technology is being successfully leveraged across many areas, and we are optimistic that it will serve as a robust platform for the point-of-care detection of hepatitis C.”

A third area is with the Treatment Action Group and the Delhi Network of Positive People, which have jointly been awarded grants to help to develop and implement country-specific strategies for demand creation and advocacy activities on hepatitis C diagnosis and diagnostics. This will be with six countries: Cameroon, Georgia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

For each recipient, in addition to financial backing, FIND will provide project support which is made up of reference samples for assay development; plus antibodies for capture and detection of hepatitis C antigens, together with technical expertise.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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