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Medford company to develop pandemic flu test

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. of Medford has signed a $900,000 agreement to help develop a pandemic flu immunity test for a U.S. government contractor, the company said Friday.

The project's goal is to create a test to determine whether someone is immune to "seasonal and novel influenza viruses, including novel H1N1, either in the field or in an outpatient setting . . . relating to pandemic preparedness" for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC subcontract was described by Chembio as "a milestone-based development agreement for up to approximately $900,000 in connection with the development and initial supply of a multiplex rapid point-of-care influenza immunity test."

The company develops, manufactures, licenses and markets proprietary rapid diagnostic tests.

Chembio said the CDC contract "contemplates a period of approximately nine months in which the development activity is to be completed.

The test will have six parameters (representing different influenza strains), plus a control line on a single device, the company said.

The test will allow visual interpretation of results, and can also be used with a portable digital reader that will be customized for this application.

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