HHS office to develop 20-minute Ebola test

HHS has announced its Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will work on developing an Ebola virus diagnostic test that will provide results within 20 minutes.

"Fast and inexpensive point-of-care diagnostics will improve our ability to control Ebola virus disease outbreaks," said Robin Robinson, PhD, director of ASPR's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which will oversee the development of this HHS program. "Faster diagnosis of Ebola virus infections allows for more immediate treatment and an earlier response to protect public health worldwide."

The simple, low-cost, lateral-flow tests can detect the presence of a virus with a drop of the patient's blood or saliva on a test strip, similar to the tests used in physicians' offices to diagnose strep throat.

The lateral-flow tests — called the OraQuick rapid Ebola antigen test — will be developed under a $1.8 million contract with OraSure Technologies, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pa.

Additionally, OraSure will evaluate whether the test can be used in the post-mortem analysis of oral fluids.

During the recent Ebola epidemic, people died before the viral infections were confirmed, yet the bodies of people infected with Ebola virus remained highly infectious. This test could help determine disease status quickly and support the appropriate handling of remains infected with the Ebola virus.



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Study identifies 'Achilles heel' of Ebola: 3 things to know

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