An international team of researchers, including Ahmed Abd El Wahed, scientist at the University of Göttingen and the German Primate Center, have tested a new method for rapid diagnosis of Ebola in a field trial in Guinea.
The test procedure was carried out using a portable suitcase laboratory, operated with solar power which enables simple on-site diagnostics in remote areas without the need of an equipped laboratory.
The new detection method, a recombinase polymerase amplification technique (RPA), is based on the rapid identification of viral RNA in oral swabs of infected persons at 42 degrees.
When compared with two other currently available diagnostic methods, RPA is a very sensitive and rapid technique-- An Ebola infection case was detected after 30 minutes.
The results of the field study have been published in the current issue of the journal Eurosurveillance.
In future, the diagnostic kit is also to be used for the detection of other viral infections. For example, Dengue virus, Chikungunya virus and Rift Valley fever virus.
The project was among six projects funded by the British Wellcome Trust program "Research for Health in Humanitarian Crisis (R2HC)." The study was led by the Pasteur Institute Dakar in Senegal and carried out in collaboration with the German Primate Center, the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, the University of Stirling in Scotland, TwistDX, UK, the Laboratory for Hemorrhagic fever of Guinea at Donka hospital and the National Public Health Institute in Conakry, Guinea.