BETHLEHEM, Pa., Aug. 16, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OraSure Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:OSUR), the market leader in oral fluid diagnostics, today announced its enthusiastic support for the expanded hepatitis C testing recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urging that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Recommendations for the Identification of HCV Chronic Infection Among Persons Born during 1945 through 1965, was published today in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Volume 61, Number RR-4) -- http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6104a1.htm?s_cid=rr6104a1_w . The report, which augments the CDC's 1998 HCV testing guidelines, recommends HCV testing of all persons born between 1945 and 1965 – approximately 81 million people, according to the 2010 Census. The CDC believes that identifying hepatitis C infections early will allow more baby boomers to receive care and treatment, before they develop life threatening liver disease. According to the CDC, one in 30 baby boomers has been infected with hepatitis C – approximately 2 million in total. Baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults and most do not know it. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases including liver cancer, which is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths and the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States, according to the agency. In addition, if left undetected and untreated, the total medical costs for patients with HCV are expected to more than double over the next 20 years – from $30 billion to $85 billion in 2024 according to the Millman Report entitled "Consequences of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): Costs of a Baby Boomer Epidemic of Liver Disease." "The implementation of birth-cohort based HCV testing is a significant step toward halting the HCV epidemic in America," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "We applaud the CDC for issuing this call to action, and we stand ready to work in collaboration with our government, industry, community and healthcare partners to help ensure that all Americans at risk for HCV have access to testing. Implementation of the revised recommendations is a critical piece to the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan issued by the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health back in May of 2011."
"Today, more than 4 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C and the vast majority do not know it," said Dr. Eugene R. Schiff, Director of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, University of Miami School of Medicine, and Vice President of the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation. "We enthusiastically support the CDC's recommendations for broader and more accessible testing for HCV and feel that we are rapidly approaching a time when it will be 'test-and-treat.' Point-of-care testing, in particular, can play a critical role in expanding testing opportunities and facilitating immediate care for those diagnosed with HCV."The Company's OraQuick® HCV test is the only FDA-approved rapid, point-of-care test for the detection of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in persons with signs or symptoms of hepatitis and in persons at risk for hepatitis C infection. The test, which utilizes the OraQuick® technology platform, provides results in 20 minutes. OraQuick® HCV is the centerpiece of numerous rapid HCV testing programs currently being implemented across the nation, including the Check Hep C NYC program, run by The Fund for Public Health in New York, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Office; as well as other programs in Chicago, Columbus, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and various other cities. About OraSure Technologies OraSure Technologies is a leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of oral fluid diagnostic and collection devices and other technologies designed to detect or diagnose critical medical conditions. Its innovative products include rapid tests for the detection of antibodies to HIV and HCV at the point of care and testing solutions for detecting various drugs of abuse. In July 2012, the Company received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the Company's OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test for sale directly to consumers in the over-the-counter (OTC) market – making it the first and only rapid OTC HIV test approved in the U.S. In addition, the Company is a leading provider of oral fluid sample collection, stabilization and preparation products for molecular diagnostic applications. OraSure's portfolio of products is sold globally to various clinical laboratories, hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations and other public health organizations, research and academic institutions, distributors, government agencies, physicians' offices, and commercial and industrial entities. The Company's products enable healthcare providers to deliver critical information to patients, empowering them to make decisions to improve and protect their health.
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