MEDFORD, N.Y., Nov. 01, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chembio Diagnostics, Inc. (Nasdaq:CEMI), a leader in point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests for infectious diseases, today announced that it has received approval for commercial use of its DPP ® Zika IgM/IgG Assay by the Brazilian health regulatory agency, Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA). Chembio's DPP ® Zika IgM/IgG Assay detects antibodies using a tiny (10uL) drop of blood from the fingertip and provides semi-quantitative results in 15 minutes, using Chembio's patented DPP ® technology platform and handheld, battery-operated DPP ® Micro Reader. In March 2016, Chembio announced its initial Zika collaboration with Bio-Manguinhos, the unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) responsible for development and production of vaccines, diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals, primarily to meet the demands of Brazil's national public health system. In May 2016, Chembio and Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz announced plans to obtain regulatory approval and to introduce a POC diagnostic test for the Zika virus in Brazil. John Sperzel, Chembio's CEO, commented, "We are pleased to receive approval from Brazil's health regulatory agency and look forward to initiating sales of our DPP ® Zika IgM/IgG Assay, which we expect to occur after we have obtained successful INCQS evaluation of the DPP ® Zika IgM/IgG Assay and ANVISA approval of the DPP ® Micro Reader. We are currently involved with INCQS, Brazil's National Institute for Quality Control in Health, and ANVISA to accomplish these final steps." Mr. Sperzel further commented, "Brazil has been hardest hit by the Zika virus, where it is estimated that 1.5 million people have been infected with Zika virus and 2,000 babies have been born with microcephaly, a devastating birth defect linked to the Zika virus. We are hopeful that our DPP ® Zika IgM/IgG Assay will assist in dealing with the health emergency posed by the Zika virus, especially as we approach December and the start of summer in Brazil." Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947. While there are cases of sexual transmission of the Zika virus, it is believed that the virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the same mosquitos that transmit Dengue, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever. In January 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to respond both to outbreaks of Zika occurring in the Americas and to increased reports of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome in areas affected by Zika. In February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) because of clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by Zika. Since 2015, Zika outbreaks have been recorded in approximately 60 countries and territories, with symptoms similar to other arbovirus infections such as Dengue. Those symptoms include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache.