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Bethlehem's OraSure to expand amid development of at-home virus test

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. - OraSure Technologies is expanding manufacturing operations as it works to develop both an at-home COVID-19 test and lab-based antibody test.

The Bethlehem-based company, which develops and makes diagnostic tests and medical devices, will create 177 new, full-time manufacturing jobs, and retain 233 jobs, announced Gov. Tom Wolf's administration on Tuesday.

“At a time when the commonwealth is ramping up COVID-19 testing, OraSure Technologies’ expansion will bring both economic opportunities to the region and increased testing accessibility,” Wolf said in a statement.

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OraSure is developing a rapid, at-home test for COVID-19. The company plans to submit the test to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization.

The company is also developing a lab-based antibody test that would detect prior virus infection.

OraSure is getting some help from the state to expand. It received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a $531,000 Pennsylvania First grant, and $531,000 in job creation tax credits. It may also be eligible for more credit programs.

"One of the keys to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is expanding access to testing,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, in a statement. “I want to thank OraSure for its commitment to saving lives, not just in Pennsylvania, but throughout the world.”

“OraSure Technologies has been a worldwide leader in manufacturing medical tests for decades here in the Lehigh Valley and today’s announcement once again demonstrates their global leadership in infectious disease diagnostics by bringing two new rapid diagnostic tests to address the COVID-19 Pandemic,” State Senator Lisa Boscola said in a news release.

“It is OraSure and the Commonwealth’s hope that their new rapid antigen self-test that would detect a COVID-19 infection and their Antibody ELISA Test will be available by end of year.”

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