US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid has received a grant of around $3.3m to develop a rapid test, Xpert Ebola, for countries worst hit by epidemic.
The fund was co-financed by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The test being developed will run on Cepheid’s installed base of more than 3,500 GeneXpert Systems in developing countries, including around 1,000 in Africa.
Cepheid chairman and CEO John Bishop said: "While we are all hopeful that the Ebola epidemic dissipates quickly, we welcome the opportunity to develop an accurate, rapid and easy-to-use test with the potential to strengthen the arsenal of tools being deployed to address the current situation.
"Cepheid has historically played a leading role in developing molecular diagnostics as an aid to infection control efforts, and the current Ebola crisis represents an extreme example of the need for sensitive, rapid, and easy to use diagnostics to inform patient management and isolation requirements."
Cepheid and the Gates Foundation are also assessing the deployment of Cepheid’s RemoteXpert cloud-based monitoring software, currently implemented for TB testing on a pilot basis in South Africa and India.