Fast, simple diagnostic test specific to 2014 Ebola outbreak

High-tech British company Primerdesign Ltd, a spin-off company from the University of Southampton, has developed a fast and simple diagnostic test solution specific to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. With the current epidemic of Ebola virus in West Africa, Primerdesign are racing to provide an easy-to-use, affordable solution for screening suspect Ebola patients.

“Accurate diagnostics are essential in controlling an outbreak like Ebola. There is an urgent need for rapid testing to screen suspected patients and people travelling in and out of the region,” explains Dr Jim Wicks, Managing Director of Primerdesign. “Our test is quick, affordable and easy to perform,” he adds. The kit detects the RNA fingerprint of Ebola Virus. It means that even minute quantities of the disease agent can be detected in the early stages allowing for pre-emptive healthcare intervention. Primerdesign Ltd, which is part of the university business incubator collaboration SETsquared, has finished development work in the last few days and is meeting with the World Health Organisation to discuss plans to possibly put large numbers of these tests in to the front line in West Africa as quickly as possible. Viruses all have a unique genetic fingerprint the same as we do. Ours is encoded in DNA but the Ebola virus uses RNA (Ribonucleic acid). So the kit is designed to specifically detect the Ebola RNA in a patient blood sample. Analysis is complete within 90 minutes.  Science Daily  Original web page at Science Daily