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Biofire Ships Ebola Test Kits to New York

BioFire courtesy photo
BioFire Defense's ebola test, used with its FilmArray machine, has been authorized by the FDA to test patients for the virus.

Salt Lake company Biofire Defense has delivered Ebola test kits to Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. The company announced over the weekend that the US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization for the test.

The FilmArray BioThreat-E is the first commercial Ebola test to be authorized for use on patients with symptoms of the disease. Biofire’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Wade Stevenson says the company is working fast to meet the demand. 

“There’s a lot of request for Ebola testing right now,” Stevenson says. “There’s a lot of fear and anxiety out there.”

Biofire has already delivered its FilmArray machine and test kits to Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, where one person with the disease is being treated. Stevenson says the company is working right now to prepare 800 more kits for shipping. But he says the tests are only warranted in certain circumstances.

“If the patient themselves have been in West Africa – one of the 3 countries that’s principally involved in this outbreak or if they’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed infection – then I think it’s pretty clear you would want to test that patient, and you would want to test them as fast as possible,” Stevenson says.  

Biofire’s test kits can deliver results in an hour. About 300 US hospitals already use the company’s FilmArray – a device the size of a toaster that can diagnose a variety of illnesses. Those hospitals only have to add the BioThreat-E panel to test for the Ebola virus. In addition to the commercial test in the US, the FDA also gave authorization for an Ebola test to be used by laboratories designated by the Department of Defense.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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