Quickest Ebola Test Out There
Ebola is intensely contagious and dangerously easily spread. That the tests for it were not particularly quick was extremely worrisome, and even worsened the issue- those in hospitals who did not have Ebola ran the risk of catching it because of slow Ebola tests. That has the potential to change now. Researchers recently developed a rapid Ebola test that could successfully detect the disease within minutes, according to a study in The Lancet. This new Ebola test, if successful enough to use on a larger scale, could be the breakthrough doctors desperately needed after the disease had such an intense outbreak it resulted in worldwide news coverage.
How Does the Test Work?
This new Ebola test involves the pricking of your finger, and takes it from there. The point-of-care Ebola test, produced by Corgenix, is also known as the ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test. It can successfully detect the Ebola virus VP40 matrix protein with just a finger blood sample, as opposed to needing a vial of blood to send away to a lab. The sample taken from the prick is put on a test strip, and changes color in as little as 5-15 minutes. In this way, the new Ebola test is not only quicker, but more efficient and less painful for the patient.
The Results Were Impressive
The evaluation of this new Ebola test was run in Sierra Leone, within two government-run treatment centers. Sierra Leone was one of the countries most decimated by the Ebola outbreak. Researchers did the ReEBOV test on 106 patients that were suspected of having Ebola, and compared their findings with those of the initial laboratory testings. What they found was even better than anyone could have expected of the new Ebola test. All 28 patients that the laboratory had already diagnosed with Ebola were detected by the test. The other 77 patients suspected had all tested negative according to the laboratory, but the new Ebola test found that some of them did, in fact, have Ebola! 71 of them remained negative, but the new test detected it in the other six. Researchers deduced that this was because of the new test’s ability to test fresh blood- the laboratory test had used refrigerated blood samples, leading to an imperfect sensitivity and a false negative. Presumably, there’s still a long way to go to getting this new test off the ground. But it’s a fantastic sign for those fighting the good fight against the Ebola outbreak.