Researchers develop device to diagnose Ebola within 15 minutes

news
22 October 2014

A new device similar to a simple pregnancy home-test could allow doctors to diagnose a patient with suspected Ebola in under 15 minutes AFP reported, citing its French developers .

The technique had been validated in trials at a high-security lab and prototype kits should be available in Ebola-hit countries by the end of October for a clinical trial, according to a statement by France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

It added, the diagnostic tool, yet to be approved by regulators worked as monoclonal antibodies reacted to the presence of virus in a tiny sample, which could be a drop of blood, plasma or urine.

It was being turned into a user-friendly kit called Ebola eZYSCREEN by Vedalab, a European pharma company.

Much like with a DIY pregnancy test, a positive result saw a small stripe show up in a results window on the hand-held device.

According to the CEA, the kit was simple to use in the field without any additional equipment.  The CEA also undertakes non-nuclear research with a possible military or security application.

It said it could give a result in under 15 minutes for anyone showing symptoms of the disease.

"Current tests, which are based on genetic detection of the virus, are highly sensitive but need special equipment, take between two and a quarter and two and a half hours and can only be carried out in a lab," the CEA explained.





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