The World Health Organization recently assessed a new rapid test for Ebola, and declared it eligible for procurement. This new test will allow doctors and volunteers to identify and quarantine Ebola patients much earlier and much faster.
The test consists of a reactive slip that notifies the user through colored lines if the blood analyzed contains the Ebola Virus. A single drop of blood applied to the strip is all that is needed to produce a diagnostic.
Traditionally people suspected of carrying the Ebola Virus had to wait for days for their results to come back. During analysis many were confined to special units designed to quarantine suspected cases.
The holding units proved to be more of a risk rather than an efficient treatment, with many healthy people being infected while waiting for their analysis results.
The U.S. Corgenix company has performed trials in Sierra Leone in order to analyze if the new detection method is feasible. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone allowed the trails to take place in two of their treatment centers.
The rapid test was pinned against standard Ebola detection laboratory procedures in the trials. The rapid test identified and the laboratory work both identified the same patients as infected by Ebola.
Some problems did occur however with several healthy subjects being falsely detected positive by the rapid test strip.
In a further endeavor both the rapid strip test and standard lab works failed to detect Ebola infection in a few patients. The disease was however detected by an alternative, more complex sensitive lab test.
The availability of the ultra-sensitive lab test is however almost inexistent in Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organization has evaluated the rapid test under their Emergency Assessment and USE program.
The WHO’s program is setup as a basic procedure aimed at establishing if the test conforms to minimum quality and safety standards.
The NWO states that currently there are two methods used for the detection of Ebola Infections. The first uses commercial tests for the detection of the virus’s nucleic acid.
The second method ( NAT) is a lot more accurate but requires special well equipped laboratories and highly trained staff.
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