A diagnostic test for Ebola can be a game changer in the fight against the disease, reveals a new study. The new test can accurately predict within minutes if an individual has Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The study is the first to show that a point-of-care EVD test (ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test; Corgenix) is faster than and as sensitive as a conventional laboratory-based molecular method used for clinical testing during the recent outbreak in Sierra Leone.
This new rapid diagnostic test (RDT) could cut back on the lengthy process usually required to confirm if a patient has EVD, help identify case contacts, and ultimately curb the spread of Ebola. Laboratory results can sometimes take days to return.
Delays like this result not only in the failure to diagnose and treat Ebola-infected patients, but also in individuals without Ebola being admitted to holding units where they may be subsequently infected with the virus, explains senior author Nira Pollock. Pollock added that this new test, on the other hand, is capable of detecting the Ebola virus in just a small drop of blood tested at the bedside, and could help us in the fight against Ebola.
According to co-author Jana Broadhurst from Partners In Health, this test could have an immediate impact on patient care and infection control by reliably detecting patients well into their illness who are likely to be highly infectious.
Although the RDT requires refrigeration, this is already available in many health centers in endemic areas, particularly those that store vaccines and other medical products. The study is published in The Lancet