A test that takes only 20 minutes to reveal whether a person has Ebola will receive as much as $10.4 million in funding from the federal government, which said it could improve efforts to fight the spread of the deadly disease.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department also said it will award almost $30 million in the next several years to fund what will be nine special regional treatment centers in the United States for patients with Ebola and other highly infectious diseases. (Tweet This)
Clinical funding for the rapid Ebola test, made by Pennsylvania-based OraSure Technologies, comes as the number of Ebola cases in the West African countries of Guinea and Sierra has experienced an uptick after seeing declines in recent months. The current Ebola outbreak, concentrated primarily in West Africa, is the worst on record, with more than 31,000 cases either confirmed, probable or suspected cases, and more than 12,600 deaths.
OraSure's product, called OraQuick Ebola Rapid Antigen Test, relies on either a finger-stick blood sample or a saliva sample. The company already has rapid tests for HIV and hepatitis C on the market.
"It works just like a pregnancy test," OraSure CEO Doug Michels told CNBC.com. "We began developing this product back in October, and this has been on a really aggressive and compressed timeline."