Diagnostics company Cepheid on Monday signed deals with PEPFAR, USAID, UNITAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to immediately reduce the price of its Xpert MTB/RIF test kit for its GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic system in 145 countries, Reuters reports. "The agreements will see the test sold for $9.98, down from its current price of $16.86 per test," the news service writes, adding, "Cepheid said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will make an initial payment of $3.5 million to make the test immediately available at the lower price" (Ail, 8/6).
"Cepheid's GeneXpert is a molecular diagnostic system that can detect TB disease in patients co-infected with HIV and resistance to the antibiotic rifampicin -- a widely accepted indicator of the presence of multi-drug resistant TB -- in less than two hours," a PEPFAR press release states, adding, "The system also can be used outside of conventional laboratories because it is self-contained and does not require specialized training." The press release notes that the price will not increase until 2022. "Research suggests that the incremental scale up of GeneXpert in countries with high TB burdens could allow for the rapid diagnosis of 700,000 cases of TB disease and save health systems in low- and middle-income countries more than U.S. $18 million in direct health costs," according to the press release (8/6).