Germany-based molecular testing company Qiagen has announced that it will receive $598,000 in funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop a QIAstat-Dx respiratory SARS-CoV-2 panel test kit.

The test kit will be able to distinguish the novel coronavirus from 21 other common respiratory viruses.

The financial assistance is being provided through a streamlined process called an easy broad agency announcement (EZ-BAA).

It is managed by the Department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR’s) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

According to Qiagen, the QIAstat-Dx solution is the first syndromic testing solution to get US agency’s development support in novel coronavirus response.

The BARDA funding will accelerate evaluation of the QiaStat-Dx testing cartridge

The company stated that the BARDA funding will speed up assessment of the QiaStat-Dx testing cartridge that detects the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2.

The QIAstat-Dx respiratory will support in the diagnosis of patients with respiratory symptoms in about an hour by distinguishing SARS-CoV-2 from other bacterial and viral pathogens.

The molecular testing panel will include assays targeting two genes used to detect the pathogen causing novel coronavirus.

Qiagen interim CEO Thierry Bernard said: “The coronavirus emergency goes to the heart of QIAGEN’s mission and expertise. Our team is partnering with customers and public health authorities worldwide to quickly scale up capacity for coronavirus testing, and also to make available the Sample to Insight QIAstat-Dx respiratory panel with SARS-CoV-2 detection.

“We have scaled up production to respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19, moving to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations at two key sites, investing to expand capacity by 70% and adding staff.

“Our top priority is producing the QIAamp and EZ1 sample technologies recommended in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines for testing, as well as the new QIAstat-Dx cartridges.

“We are working closely with laboratories, hospitals and other customers around the world to assess their flexibility, timing and quantity needs.”

Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to acquire molecular diagnostics and sample preparation technologies provider Qiagen in a deal valued at around $11.5bn.