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Cepheid Receives Grant to Develop Ebola Diagnostic Test

Molecular diagnostics company Cepheid said it received a grant of up to $3.3 million, co-financed by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop a diagnostic test for the deadly Ebola virus.

The Xpert Ebola test, which is expected to use saliva or a drop of blood to identify the virus, is likely to be offered on an emergency use only basis, Cepheid said on Thursday.

Cepheid and the Gates Foundation are also evaluating deploying the company's RemoteXpert cloud-based monitoring software to help track the spread of the disease.

Cepheid joins a list of diagnostic makers looking to develop tests to accurately and quickly detect Ebola, which has killed more than 5,000 people so far.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month granted emergency authorization to two new Ebola diagnostic tests made by BioFire, a subsidiary of medical diagnostics maker BioMerieux .

Salt Lake City-based BioFire's tests can detect Ebola in blood or urine samples in one hour, a significant improvement on the 24 to 48 hour time frame that currently available tests take to pinpoint the disease.

Chembio Diagnostics Inc said last month that it had begun developing point-of-care diagnostic tests for Ebola and febrile illness in partnership with privately held Integrated BioTherapeutics Inc.

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