Scientists create device to diagnose Ebola in 15 minutes

by Kolapo Olapoju

French developers have created a new device which could allow doctors to diagnose a patient with suspected Ebola in under 15 minutes.

France’s Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) said in a statement that trials at a high-security lab have validated the technique and prototype kits should be available in Ebola-hit countries by the end of October for a clinical trial.

The Ebola diagnostic device, which is waiting for approval by regulators, works by monoclonal antibodies reacting to the presence of virus in a tiny sample, which can be a drop of blood, plasma or urine.

The CEA statement further said, “It can give a result in less than 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 device is similar to a DIY pregnancy test, where a positive result shows a small stripe in a results window on the hand-held device. A European pharmaceutical company ‘Vedalab, is turning it into a user-friendly kit called ‘Ebola eZYSCREEN’.

Scientists at the agency commenced work on the diagnostic tool in mid-August, when the epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone became more drastic.

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