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Meridian Bioscience Launches New Flu Test for Physician Offices

CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 11, 2003--Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (Nasdaq:VIVO) today announced that it has begun marketing a new physician's office Influenza A&B Test. This rapid test is simple enough to be performed in physicians' offices and small labs. The new product expands Meridian's influenza and RSV testing lines that continue to be in high demand and have been sold to hospital labs for the past two years. This rapid physician's office flu test differentiates between the A and B strains of influenza. Meridian Bioscience is pleased to announce that Cardinal Health, with over 260 dedicated physician office representatives, will distribute these products in addition to other select distributors.

Influenza outbreaks have been a significant problem this season. The National Center for Infectious Diseases stated in its most recent Influenza Summary Update, "Influenza activity in the United States continued to increase during week 48 (November 23-29, 2003). One thousand three hundred nine (39.1%) of 3,350 specimens collected from throughout the United States and tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories were positive for influenza. The proportion of patient visits to sentinel providers for influenza-like illness (ILI) overall was 5.1%, which is above the national baseline of 2.5%. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was 6.5%, which is below the epidemic threshold for the week. Thirteen state health departments reported widespread influenza activity, 16 states and New York City reported regional activity, 6 states reported local influenza activity, 13 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico reported sporadic influenza activity, and 1 state and the District of Columbia reported no influenza activity."

Previously, on November 17, 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the country may be in for a more severe flu season than in the previous three years. CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding stated, "First, it's early in the season and flu viruses are circulating at a higher level than usual at this time and second, the group of influenza viruses circulating this year has in previous years caused a lot of people to become ill and to develop complications."

Jack Kraeutler, President and COO said, "We are pleased to be able to provide accurate, easy to use diagnostic products to physician offices during the current influenza outbreak. With the availability of these simpler tests in physicians' offices and smaller labs, we are expanding testing sites and access for more people needing fast diagnostic results."

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor from civil litigation for forward looking statements accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements. Except for historical information, this report contains forward-looking statements which may be identified by words such as "estimates", "anticipates", "projects", "plans", "expects", "intends", "believes", "should" and similar expressions or the negative versions thereof and which also may be identified by their context. Such statements are based upon current expectations of the Company and speak only as of the date made. The Company assumes no obligation to publicly update any forward looking statements. These statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ, including, without limitation, the following: Meridian's continued growth depends, in part, on its ability to introduce into the marketplace enhancements of existing products or new products that incorporate technological advances, meet customer requirements and respond to products developed by Meridian's competition. While Meridian has introduced a number of internally-developed products, there can be no assurance that it will be successful in the future in introducing such products on a timely basis. Ongoing consolidations of reference laboratories and formation of multi-hospital alliances may cause adverse changes to pricing and distribution. Costs and difficulties in complying with laws and regulations administered by the United States Food and Drug Administration can result in unanticipated expenses and delays and interruptions to the sale of new and existing products. Changes in the relative strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar can change expected results. One of Meridian's main growth strategies is the acquisition of companies and product lines. There can be no assurance that additional acquisitions will be consummated or that, if consummated, will be successful and the acquired businesses successfully integrated into Meridian's operations.

Meridian is a fully integrated life science company that manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of innovative diagnostic test kits, purified reagents and related products and offers biopharmaceutical enabling technologies. Utilizing a variety of methods, these products provide accuracy, simplicity and speed in the early diagnosis and treatment of common medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal, viral, urinary and respiratory infections. All Meridian diagnostic products are used outside of the human body and require little or no special equipment. The Company's products are designed to enhance patient well-being while reducing the total outcome costs of healthcare. Meridian has strong market positions in the areas of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections, serology, parasitology and fungal disease diagnosis. In addition, Meridian is a supplier of rare reagents and specialty biologicals along with proteins and other biologicals used by biopharmaceutical companies engaged in research for new drugs and vaccines. The Company markets its products to hospitals, reference laboratories, research centers, veterinary testing centers, physician offices and diagnostics manufacturers in more than 60 countries around the world. The Company's shares are traded through Nasdaq's National Market, symbol VIVO. Meridian's website address is www.meridianbioscience.com.

CONTACT: Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
John A. Kraeutler, 513-271-3700

SOURCE: Meridian Bioscience, Inc.