San Diego Biotech Company Receives $13 Million Grant to Develop Coronavirus Test

Written by Nicholas Vetrisek

Cue Health, a San Diego-based healthcare technology company, has received a $13 million federal grant to fund their coronavirus diagnostic kit, which they state can give results in 25 minutes or less.

The company said that the test would use portable devices and a nasal swab to provide rapid results, with the tests eventually being used at home and in the community.

“We aim to help provide a diagnostic shield for people at home, their business and the healthcare system that will allow us to gain the upper hand against viral threats now and in the future,” said Cue Health CEO Ayub Khattak.

The funding is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and its purpose is to accelerate test development, validation, and clearance by the FDA.

“We have worked with the BARDA team for the past two years developing and testing a 20-minute, molecular influenza test designed for home and point-of-care use,” Khattak stated. “Our connected platform could serve as a critical tool in identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Rather than waiting days for results or sending samples off to a lab, having test results in 25 minutes could drastically improve our ability to contain the spread of the virus for this and future pandemics.”

In addition to Cue Health, BARDA has also given funding to Mesa Biotech Inc. for its test, which they state can provide results in 30 minutes. Mesa has received fast-track approval from the FDA for their test, along with San Diego’s Hologic Inc., Quidel Corp., Carlsbad’s Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., and GenMark.

“We are committed to making rapid point-of-care tests to detect SARS- CoV-2 available as quickly as possible. Tests that can be used reliably in alternate care sites will provide faster results to more people. Public-private partnerships are essential in providing solutions to curb the spread of COVID-19 now and also to mitigate future coronavirus outbreaks,” said BARDA Director Rick Bright.

If these tests are successful, they could greatly improve the coronavirus situation and allow authorities to get a better grip on the pandemic. Once again, San Diego biotech companies are on the cutting-edge and if their methods are effective, they will save many lives.


Featured Photo by GotCredit via Flickr