BD inks BARDA contract to develop COVID tests for the long future of the pandemic

Though BD has previously received emergency authorizations from the FDA, full 510(k) clearances would allow the tests to be sold after the current public health emergency is deemed over. (Maksim Tkachenko/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

BD has inked a public-private partnership with the U.S. government to ready its current lines of COVID-19 diagnostics for the long haul of the pandemic—by developing combination tests that simultaneously screen for the flu and other infectious diseases from a single sample.

This includes the company’s higher-throughput tests designed for core laboratories and hospitals as well as rapid diagnostics used at the point of care.

Under a $24.7 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, better known as BARDA, BD will work to obtain full FDA clearances for five diagnostic tests. The deal also includes options to extend the total to $40.3 million.

The slated tests include BD’s handheld Veritor Plus antigen diagnostic system for the coronavirus, plus influenza A and B, which received an emergency authorization from the FDA this past March. A 510(k) clearance would allow the test to be sold after the current public health emergency is deemed over and the virus moves into endemic stages.

Other tests include two panels each for the company’s BD MAX and BD COR laboratory systems—adding the ability to detect influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus and seasonal and newly emerging coronaviruses along with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

RELATED: BD primes Amazon rollout of smartphone-based rapid COVID-19 test

"We know that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and we share BARDA's desire to help ensure the U.S. health care system is ready to diagnose and ultimately treat known and emerging respiratory viruses," BD’s president of life sciences, Dave Hickey, said in a statement.

"This collaboration will allow us to develop a comprehensive suite of FDA-cleared tests for use at all levels of the U.S. health care system to detect COVID-19, other respiratory pathogens and emerging coronaviruses in order to inform appropriate patient response and management," Hickey said.

Earlier this month, BD began rolling out its smartphone-based home antigen test for COVID-19, with the test available for purchase through Amazon. Developed in tandem with telehealth testing provider Scanwell Health, the two-pack of tests typically retails for about $40.