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IDRI and Chembio Collaborate to Develop a Low-Cost Test for Visceral Leishmaniasis
Date:5/11/2009

SEATTLE and NEW YORK, May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and Chembio Diagnostics Systems, Inc. (Chembio) today announced they have entered into a milestone-based agreement pursuant to which Chembio will use its patented dual path platform technology (DPP(R)) and other Chembio capabilities to design, develop and manufacture a low-cost device for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis. This step is critical to IDRI's program funded under a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of accurate, rapid and affordable methods of diagnosis for patients suffering from visceral leishmaniasis in Africa. This announcement was made at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunologists (Immunology 2009) held May 8-12 in Seattle, WA.

Most visceral leishmaniasis cases occur in poor populations living in remote areas far from healthcare centers. In these settings, the disease often co-exists with malaria and other debilitating parasitic infections that exhibit similar symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. In these challenging conditions, the traditional labor-intensive and complex diagnostic procedures -- invasive removal of bone marrow, spleen and lymph node tissues for microscopic examination and isolation of the parasite by culture -- are neither feasible nor field-friendly.

"We are actively working to develop a rapid and simple test that could be used in the field in Africa to diagnose visceral leishmaniasis by using no more than a drop of blood," said Dr. Steven Reed, Founder and Head of IDRI's Research and Development Program. "This would dramatically improve early detection of visceral leishmaniasis, making current treatments more effective and decreasing transmission rates."

Rapid diagnostic tests are made of two major components: the reagents which are selected to react with specific immunologic components present in
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SOURCE Infectious Disease Research Institute
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