CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Daktari Diagnostics, a company focused on making “Anywhere. Care.™” a reality with its portable and ultrasensitive immunoassay-based CarePlatform™, today announced that it has reached a milestone in its global collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, for the development of Daktari’s rapid point-of-care (POC) hepatitis C virus (HCV) core antigen confirmatory test system.
Daktari has successfully completed the design of the cartridge prototype suitable for commercial production, triggering a milestone payment of an undisclosed sum from Merck.
Daktari’s developmental HCV POC system is designed to provide quantitative determination of HCV viral load as a means to confirm diagnosis of an active HCV infection from samples of whole blood. It is based on a high-sensitivity measurement of the HCV core antigen and allows for a single-test approach, reducing the need for patients to undergo multiple diagnostic tests, especially in low access settings. The POC system consists of an automated instrument with an integrated reagent cartridge subsystem.
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The first report of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on viral hepatitis reveals the enormous scale of this silent epidemic in the Americas, and advocates an organized response by the countries of the region to prevent, detect and treat those who need it.
The new report, “Hepatitis B and C in the Spotlight: A public health response in the Region of the Americas 2016” estimates that about 2.8 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus infection and about 7.2 million have hepatitis C virus. Of these three of every four persons do not know they have the infection, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death if not treated on time.
“Hepatitis is a silent epidemic because people who have the infections do not have symptoms until there is damage to the liver, and because the burden of the disease has not been fully recognized. informing people about these diseases and ways to prevent them is crucial,” according to Massimo Ghidinelli, chief of the HIV, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections unit at PAHO/WHO.