Mesa Biotech lands $13M to develop rapid COVID/flu test

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Mesa Biotech announced today that it was awarded $13 million by BARDA to develop its COVID-19 and flu molecular diagnostic.

San Diego-based Mesa Biotech received the contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to a news release.

The Accula SARS-CoV-2 & flu A/flu B combination test is designed to provide rapid PCR results within 30 minutes at the point of care. Mesa plans to develop the diagnostic on its commercially available platform for Accula flu A/flu B and RSV, which are both FDA-cleared, plus its SARS-CoV-2 platform, which has emergency use authorization (EUA).

Mesa said it will be a visually read test, using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology to detect the viruses through throat, nasal or nasopharyngeal swab samples.

“We initially recognized the need for portable testing over a decade ago, while working at Los Alamos National Lab,” Mesa Biotech co-founder & chief scientific officer Bruce Cary said in the release. “The Accula testing platform was developed specifically for use outside of a lab setting to enable rapid and agile responses to global pandemics like COVID-19, as well as everyday use for common infectious diseases. Our SARS-CoV-2 & flu A/flu B combination test leverages reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology to provide ‘true PCR’ results in about 30 minutes using a handheld device, thus enabling health care providers to rapidly distinguish between influenza and SARS-CoV-2 with a single sample.”