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Chembio Diagnostics wins $600G grant for TB test for cattle

John J. Sperzel, CEO of Chembio Diagnostics in

John J. Sperzel, CEO of Chembio Diagnostics in Medford. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. has won a $600,000 federal grant to develop a rapid test for tuberculosis in cattle, executives said Monday.

The Medford-based manufacturer of point-of-care tests for HIV, Ebola, Zika and other diseases in humans will work with the National Animal Disease Center and Infectious Disease Research Institute on the new test.

The grant money is for two years and comes from the Small Business Innovation Research Program within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a federal agency. NIFA is part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Chembio CEO John J. Sperzel said the blood test for bovine tuberculosis would provide results in 20 minutes, compared with skin tests now in use that take days. He said the test could be used with beef and dairy herds.

More than a million cattle are tested in the United States each year, including at slaughterhouses.

“While worldwide bovine TB cost estimates vary, Europe’s highest incidence occurs in England, where the annual cost associated with bovine TB is estimated at 100 million pounds” (about $112 million), he said.

Sperzel also said that while Chembio is best known for HIV tests, the company has developed a tuberculosis test for captive and farmed deer.

Chembio shares closed up 9 cents, or more than 1 percent, to $7.15on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has risen $3.01, or 73 percent, in the past year.

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