Solutions validated in an epidemic context
In light of the global health crisis created by the Ebola epidemic in 2014, BioFire Defense, a bioMérieux affiliate, received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its clinical test to detect the Ebola virus circulating in West Africa: BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® BioThreat-E test.
Within the framework of a collaborative project with a team from the Jean Mérieux BSL-4 laboratory in Lyon, research was also conducted in the field of biosafety on the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® BioThreat-E test. It confirmed the safety of the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® platform for handling samples containing dangerous pathogens, such as the Ebola virus.
In 2017, within the scope of a partnership to combat the Ebola virus, bioMérieux provided BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® technology to Donka Hospital in Conakry for the hospital to conduct a clinical study of the utilization of the BioThreat-E test.
A dedicated team
An in-house team by the name of “DO-IT” (Diagnostic Outbreak Intervention Team) has been mandated to evaluate the needs of healthcare professionals who are facing an epidemic, deciding what action the Company should take and, if necessary, accelerating the development of appropriate diagnostic tests.
In 2015, the Company launched the ARGENE® MERS-HCoV r-gene® test, a new RUO (research use only) kit for laboratories working to develop a diagnostic tool for the emerging coronavirus MERS-CoV, which causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. This molecular solution enables detection and screening for the disease agent, which is associated with a mortality rate of around 35% in humans.
In April 2017, bioMérieux obtained the CE marking of the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Respiratory Panel (RP2plus), which tests simultaneously for 22 pathogens (18 viruses and 4 bacteria) that cause respiratory tract infections, including MERS-CoV. This expanded version of the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Respiratory Panel features reduced time to results (45 minutes instead of 1 hour previously) and greater sensitivity.
Center of excellence for tropical infectious diseases
The Company created a Center of Excellence in 2016 in Brazil, where local teams carry out research projects to develop diagnostic solutions for tropical infectious diseases.
In April 2017, bioMérieux and its partner, the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the São Paulo University, were granted funding from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for a research program on markers of viral severity of viruses such as those that cause Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya infections.
Donation of rapid tests in Brazil
Since 2015, bioMérieux takes part in the Xingu Mission Project, dedicated to improving the health of populations living in isolated regions of Brazil. For people in the town of São José do Xingu, several thousands of hepatitis B and HIV tests are distributed free of charge. Designed for ease-of-use in medical centers, these rapid tests allow real-time diagnosis for patients who do not have easy access to a diagnostics laboratory.
Training in the management of fevers
Managing patients with fever is a key challenge for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.
The association Santé en Entreprise organized a three-day training workshop on this topic in September 2017 in Conakry. bioMérieux teams contributed to the design and implementation of the workshop.
In February 2017, bioMérieux sponsored a three-day workshop in Grand Bassam (Côte d’Ivoire), organized by the Institute of Medicine and Applied Epidemiology (University of Paris-Diderot) and the University of Abidjan. The workshop explored diagnostic and therapeutic fever management strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. bioMérieux led sessions devoted to the diagnosis of sepsis and syndromic diagnostics.
bioMérieux has entered into an agreement with the Global Fund, effective until the end of 2018. The Company was selected as part of a new approach to monitoring the viral load of patients living with HIV, which the WHO has recommended since 2013.
After undergoing a technical and commercial evaluation, our NUCLISENS EASYQ® range was chosen for a three-year period. This agreement is intended to ensure that diagnostics are financially accessible for people in resource-limited countries.