FDA Permits Marketing of First SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Test Using Traditional Premarket Review Process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted marketing authorization of the BioFire Respiratory Panel 2.1 (RP2.1), a diagnostic test for the simultaneous qualitative detection and identification of multiple respiratory viral and bacterial nucleic acids in nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) obtained from individuals suspected of COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections. The diagnostic test, which had an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), was granted marketing authorization using the De Novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for low- to moderate-risk devices of a new type. The grant of this De Novo request marks an important step in FDA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic because it is the first SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test that will be permitted to be marketed beyond the public health emergency. 

“Today’s action is a great demonstration of the FDA’s work to protect the public health in emergency response situations and beyond,” said FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “We ensured there were tests made available quickly under EUA; and we continue to work with diagnostic manufacturers to take the next step of ensuring products are FDA reviewed for safety and effectiveness and authorized for marketing under our traditional premarket authorities. While this is the first marketing authorization for a diagnostic test using a traditional premarket review process, we do not expect this to be the last and look forward to working with developers of medical products to move their products through our traditional review pathways.”

The grant of the De Novo request for this test is based on additional data showing validation beyond what is needed for emergency use authorization. The FDA reviewed data from a clinical study of more than 500 test samples and a variety of analytical studies, which demonstrated a reasonable assurance that the BioFire RP2.1 was safe and effective at identification and differentiation of various respiratory viral and bacterial pathogens.  

With granting of the De Novo for the BioFire RP2.1 today, the FDA has also revoked the EUA for this device, which was initially authorized for emergency use in May 2020. This EUA revocation and De Novo authorization do not impact the availability other tests under EUA. 

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