updated 2/22/2011 6:16:25 AM ET 2011-02-22T11:16:25

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Feb. 22, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OraSure Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:OSUR) announced today that its OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test has now been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") for use in detecting HCV antibodies with a fingerstick whole blood sample. The fingerstick whole blood claim is the second application to be approved by the FDA for the OraQuick® HCV test. The product received an initial approval for use in persons at risk for HCV infection with venous whole blood specimens in June 2010.

The OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test is the only rapid, point-of-care test for the detection of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus that is approved by the FDA. The test, which utilizes the OraQuick® technology platform, provides results in 20 minutes.

"Receiving FDA approval to test individuals at risk using a fingerstick whole blood sample significantly expands the flexibility and versatility of our OraQuick® Rapid HCV Antibody Test," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "By eliminating the need for a blood draw, healthcare providers will be able to identify more individuals infected with hepatitis C and get them into care."

There are an estimated 4.1 million Americans, or 1.6 percent of the U.S. population, that are or have been infected with HCV. New infections in the U.S. are estimated at approximately 20,000 per year. On a worldwide basis, there are an estimated 180 million people who are chronically infected with HCV, with an estimated 3 to 4 million individuals newly infected each year.

The Company previously received approval to affix the CE mark to its OraQuick HCV test in December 2009 for use with oral fluid, fingerstick whole blood, venous whole blood, serum and plasma. The CE Mark was required in order to sell the product in the European Union.

As previously announced, OraSure has entered into agreements with Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK), through its predecessor Schering Plough Corp., to collaborate on the development and promotion of the OraQuick HCV test. Under these agreements, Merck will provide detailing and other promotional support for the test in the physicians' office markets in the United States and internationally.

About OraSure Technologies

OraSure Technologies develops, manufactures and markets oral fluid specimen collection devices using proprietary oral fluid technologies, diagnostic products including immunoassays and other in vitro diagnostic tests, and other medical devices. These products are sold in the United States as well as internationally to various clinical laboratories, hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations and other public health organizations, distributors, government agencies, physicians' offices, and commercial and industrial entities.

OraSure Technologies is the leading supplier of oral-fluid testing solutions for drugs of abuse and for the detection of antibodies to HIV.

For more information on the Company, please go to www.orasure.com .

The OraSure Technologies, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6440

Important Information

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, including with respect to product availability and registrations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or results. Known and unknown factors that could cause actual performance or results to be materially different from those expressed or implied in these statements include, but are not limited to: ability to market and sell products, whether through an internal, direct sales force or third parties; ability to manufacture products in accordance with applicable specifications, performance standards and quality requirements; changes in relationships, including disputes or disagreements, with strategic partners or other parties and reliance on strategic partners for the performance of critical activities under collaborative arrangements; failure of distributors or other customers to meet purchase forecasts or minimum purchase requirements for the Company's products; impact of replacing distributors and success of direct sales efforts; inventory levels at distributors and other customers; impact of competitors, competing products and technology changes; impact of the economic downturn, high unemployment and poor credit conditions; reduction or deferral of public funding available to customers; competition from new or better technology or lower cost products; ability to develop, commercialize and market new products; market acceptance of oral fluid testing or other products; changes in market acceptance of products based on product performance, extended shelf life or other factors; continued bulk purchases by customers, including governmental agencies, and the ability to fully deploy those purchases in a timely manner; ability to fund research and development and other products and operations; ability to obtain and maintain new or existing product distribution channels; reliance on sole supply sources for critical product components; availability of related products produced by third parties or products required for use of our products; ability to obtain, and timing and cost of obtaining, necessary regulatory approvals for new products or new indications or applications for existing products; ability to comply with applicable regulatory requirements; history of losses and ability to achieve sustained profitability; ability to utilize net operating loss carry forwards or other deferred tax assets; volatility of our stock price; uncertainty relating to patent protection and potential patent infringement claims; uncertainty and costs of litigation relating to patents and other intellectual property; availability of licenses to patents or other technology; ability to enter into international manufacturing agreements; obstacles to international marketing and manufacturing of products; ability to sell products internationally, including the impact of changes in international funding sources; loss or impairment of sources of capital; ability to meet financial covenants in agreements with financial institutions; ability to retain qualified personnel; exposure to product liability and other types of litigation; changes in international, federal or state laws and regulations; customer consolidations and inventory practices; equipment failures and ability to obtain needed raw materials and components; the impact of terrorist attacks and civil unrest; ability to identify, complete and realize the full benefits of potential acquisitions; and general political, business and economic conditions. These and other factors are discussed more fully in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including its registration statements, Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and other filings with the SEC. Although forward-looking statements help to provide information about future prospects, readers should keep in mind that forward-looking statements may not be reliable. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this Note and OraSure Technologies undertakes no duty to update these statements.

CONTACT: Investor Contact:
         Ronald H. Spair
         Chief Financial Officer
         610-882-1820
         investorinfo@orasure.com
         
         Media Contact:
         Jennifer Moritz
         Zer0 to 5ive for OraSure Technologies
         917-748-4006
         jmoritz@0to5.com

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