French researchers 'develop 15-minute test for Ebola'
Device can be used in the field without special equipment, according to developers
Paris French researchers have announced they have developed a 15-minute diagnostic test for Ebola.
The Ebola virus diagnostic kit - described as being similar to a simple pregnancy home test - gives results in less than a quarter of an hour, said the researchers from the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA) on Tuesday.
The device can be used in the field without the need for any special equipment using a drop of blood, plasma or urine of the patient with symptoms of the disease.
Current tests based on genetic testing of the virus are very sensitive but require special devices and should only be performed in a laboratory, CEA experts said, adding that the results usually take more than two hours.
The French developers said the test could be available for a clinical trial by the end of October in order to allow doctors to diagnose a patient with suspected Ebola in a short period of time.
In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed at least 4,546 people in the three West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Ebola - a tropical fever which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo - can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.
It can also reportedly spread through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have succumbed to the virus.