BETHLEHEM, Pa., May 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OraSure Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:OSUR), Walgreens (NYSE:WAG), and the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation announced today that they have joined with local health organizations to offer hepatitis C (HCV) testing with the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test to individuals who may be at risk for HCV infection. The testing will be available in select Walgreens locations across 11 states in observance of National Hepatitis Testing Day, May 19. The on-site testing, patient education and linkage to care will be conducted by local health organizations. National Hepatitis Testing Day was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an opportunity to remind healthcare providers and those individuals at risk that they should be tested for viral hepatitis.
"Today, approximately 4 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C and the vast majority does not know it," said Dr. Willis C. Maddrey, President of the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation. "However, new therapies are now available that can effectively treat and in some cases eliminate the virus from the body, making testing for HCV – particularly among baby boomers – a critical step in fighting this epidemic."
"Hepatitis C is a silent epidemic and these testing events can help make a meaningful impact on prevention, treatment and awareness," said Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens senior manager of virology. "By working collaboratively, we can help educate communities on the risk factors and link people to appropriate care."OraQuick® HCV is the first and only FDA-approved and CLIA-waived point of care test for detection of HCV infection in at-risk individuals. The simple platform enables healthcare providers to deliver a diagnosis based on lab-accurate test results in 20 minutes, using venipuncture or fingerstick blood. "Using traditional laboratory testing, individuals typically wait days or weeks before receiving their hepatitis C test results," said Douglas A. Michels, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies. "The OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test is ideal for use at the point of care – it's easy, accessible and provides lab-accurate results in 20 minutes – enabling individuals presumed to be infected to be referred immediately for follow-up care."