HHS Pursues Fast, Easy Test to Detect Ebola Virus Infections
Washington, DC - To assist doctors in diagnosing the Ebola virus disease quickly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) will pursue development of an Ebola virus diagnostic test for use in a doctor’s office, hospital, clinic, or field setting 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, Ph.D., director of ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which will oversee this development program for HHS. “Faster diagnosis of Ebola virus infections allows for more immediate treatment and an earlier response to protect public health worldwide.”
Diagnosing Ebola virus infections quickly in resource-poor areas would enable health care providers to isolate and provide necessary treatment and supportive care to patients suffering from Ebola. Quickly isolating patients helps limit the spread of the disease. Emerging evidence has shown that early initiation of supportive care improves outcomes for patients suffering from Ebola virus disease.
The development of this simple, low-cost, lateral-flow test, called the OraQuick rapid Ebola antigen test, will take place under a $1.8 million contract with OraSure Technologies Inc., headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Lateral flow tests 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 doctors’ offices to diagnose strep throat. Continue>
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