A county public health nurse administers a COVID-19 test. Courtesy County News Center

San Diego-based biotech company Diomics announced Thursday that it has been awarded more than $2 million in funding from the Department of Defense to develop a transdermal skin patch that will indicate when a person has mounted an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The company says its Diocheck patch will show a change in skin color visible through the patch that indicates if a person has been recently exposed to the virus and should get tested and quarantine or has recovered from a previous coronavirus infection and may still retain immunity.

Diomics says the patch detects immune response within 24 to 36 hours of application and is expected to effectively monitor for up to 14 days.

The company said the $2,125,000 Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with the DOD will accelerate the patch’s development and testing.

“The Diocheck patch responds to the great unknown of how many people are unintentionally widening the spread by being asymptomatic carriers,” said Diomics CEO Anthony Zolezzi.

“Enabling people to monitor their own health status and be confident of the status of those around them is the key to being able to safely reopen schools, theaters, offices and other places. Widespread use of the Diocheck indicator patch will give us a simple, effective, non- invasive way to know that we are all actively protecting each other.”

Diomics says the Diocheck system is currently entering preclinical animal studies at UC Irvine, with human clinical trials expected to begin in December.

— City News Service