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WHO Approves Ebola Rapid Test

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Image credit: jaddingt / Shutterstock.

After the successful trial on a large scale in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently approved a new device capable of diagnosis of Ebola virus infection within just fifteen minutes. Hopefully, this newly developed test would promote the rate of diagnosis in remote areas so as to help infected people have urgent treatment much rapidly.

The ongoing Ebola crisis is quite sad, because nearly 23,250 cases of Ebola virus disease have been confirmed since the initial outbreak in Guinea almost a year ago. As a result of infection, more than 9,500 people have died of such disease. Although the international community is making every possible effort to solve such problem, it has been spread like wildfire in West Africa. It is urgent to identify the infection cases more quickly faster in the way that contact with others could be contained, thus the opportunity for further transmission could be greatly reduced.

However, the traditional tests are not ideally suitable for the current situation, because a lot of things are needed in such tests, including laboratory equipment and electricity as well as trained staff who could screen bodily fluids for bits of the virus’ genetic material, this process would take hours to finish before a result could be achieved. Although with high accuracy, such screening procedures are not likely to miss a positive case, they are not ideal in regard to remote area or an infectious disease that needs faster isolation and treatment.

According to a latest report by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the problem could be worsened due to the fact that airport screening would miss nearly half number of infected travelers, because some passengers are not honest to report their risk of exposure, since they are afraid of being prohibited to take the flight.

Therefore, a fast test capable of being used on the spot would be much necessary to alleviate these issues. Fortunately, after a trial for two-months in affected African countries, the WHO has finally approved the application of this new test.

Instead of going for genetic material, the new test developed by Corgenix, one U.S company, is targeted on detecting viral proteins which could be collected more rapidly. Based on the report by The Telegraph, the trial confirmed that the test could identify nearly 92% of positive cases correctly. Compared with the traditional test, it was not so that accurate, but it could provide the results in just fifteen minutes, which is six times faster than the conventional ones. In addition, no specialist training is required to conduct the test and it could be done without usage of electricity.

The unique characters of the test allow it to become ideal one easily getting to the remote areas in Africa as well as screening people in airports. As a result, with more positive cases being identified, they could be prohibited to take flight and also put into isolation more rapidly, thus receiving fast onset of treatment. However, owing to a higher risk of misdiagnosing with the test, it is strongly advised by the WHO that positive individuals should be given conventional tests following this one.

Source: BBC News and The Telegraph

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