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FDA Clears Focus Diagnostics and 3M Test for Molecular Influenza and Respiritory Virus

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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First moderate-complexity Simplexa™ assay developed through funding by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' BARDA BAA program for public health preparedness.

Focus Diagnostics, a business of Quest Diagnostics and 3M, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided 510(k) clearance and CLIA moderate-complexity categorization to the Simplexa Flu A/B & RSV Direct test on the 3M™ Integrated Cycler.

The new test aids in the qualitative detection and differentiation of RNA of influenza A and B viruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), common causes of respiratory illness. Focus Diagnostics, maker of the Simplexa™ brand of molecular test kits, and 3M™, maker of the 3M Integrated Cycler technology, developed the test through an exclusive global collaboration. The collaboration, formed in 2009, has produced several Simplexa molecular tests, including the first FDA-cleared commercial test for the influenza A H1N1 (2009) virus.

The Simplexa Flu A/B & RSV Direct molecular test is the first moderate-complexity molecular test from the Focus Diagnostics' Simplexa product line, significantly broadening potential clinical access to the Simplexa/3M technology. Moderate complexity laboratories, defined by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), include certain types of physician's offices, community hospitals, health clinics and integrated delivery networks. These facilities typically lack the personnel and technology to perform high-complexity molecular diagnostic tests.  Since the test can be performed in these moderate complexity labs, patient results may be obtained readily to help speed therapeutic decisions.

"The future of influenza and all respiratory virus testing is molecular diagnostics, given its potential for high sensitivity and fast reporting of test results, which are essential for patient management," said Jay M. Lieberman, M.D., medical director, infectious diseases, for Quest Diagnostics and Focus Diagnostics. "The clearance and moderate complexity categorization of the Simplexa test on the 3M Integrated Cycler signifies an important step forward in expanding access to near-patient molecular testing, potentially helping clinicians to make better decisions for their patients."

The new Simplexa test was developed with funding from The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It supports the development of new technologies with potential to be effective medical countermeasure products for public health emergency threats. BARDA awarded a $5.9 million contract for the test's development.

"We are pleased to be part of this development that brings near-patient quality molecular testing to localized healthcare settings, and see it as evidence that public-private collaborations can produce important medical technologies," said Tom Cole, global marketing manager for 3M Infection Prevention Division.  "The availability of this test to a broad swath of healthcare professionals in the U.S. will no doubt advance the diagnosis and management of many patients this coming Flu/RSV season."

Influenza and RSV are contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viral infections. While influenza and RSV produce relatively mild disease in most healthy individuals, they may cause severe respiratory disease or death in certain populations, including young children and older adults.

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