MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Daktari Diagnostics receives NIH grant for development of hepatitis C diagnostics system

Daktari Diagnostics received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Health on Tuesday for the continued development of the Daktari HCV assay

The assay is a point-of-care hepatitis C diagnostic system that will meet the healthcare needs of resource-limited settings in Africa, Asia and worldwide.

"We hope to demonstrate that the Daktari platform can detect and quantify HCV viral load directly from fingerstick whole blood in less than 30 minutes," Marta Fernandez-Suarez, the scientific director for Daktari, said. "The Daktari point-of-care platform is uniquely suited to bring HCV testing to resource limited areas of the globe."

Hepatitis C affects at least 175 million people worldwide. New treatments have been proven to cure the majority of patients living with hepatitis C infection. New HCV drugs have spurred the discussion of possibly eradicating HCV globally, though such an effort would be expensive in cost. UNITAID, a U.N. agency, has taken interest in the global HCV pandemic and has raised $1.6 billion for the commercialization of drugs and diagnostics in the developing world.

Daktari previously released its CD4 system HIV test, which provides a CD4 count, or white blood cell count, in 14 minutes from a single drop of blood, in seven African countries with funding from UNITAID. The battery-powered, handheld instrument uses disposable, single-use microfluidic assay cartridges. The information is wirelessly submitted directly to a central database through the mobile phone network.