Diagnosing the virus
Today, the process of diagnosing Ebola takes 2-3 days. A diagnosis can only be given after the onset of symptoms. The existing process requires a sophisticated laboratory and trained laboratory workers.
To reduce the time and risk associated with today’s diagnostic procedure, fast access to cheap, point-of-care tests is needed.
When a patient arrives at a medical center with a fever, it is critical to know as soon as possible whether the fever is due to the Ebola virus or another type of disease.
To achieve this goal, local healthcare workers need different types of tests:
First and foremost, an easy-to-use, cheap, fast, accessible and easily disposable test for on-the-field, point-of-care diagnostics is needed. Other highly sensitive tests are needed for hospitals and university healthcare centers. These tests need to be as accurate as possible.
Institut Pasteur has two advanced programs on diagnostics to be ready as early as in 2015.
- One field test or diagnostic point-of-care test: A rapid Ebola test will be tested on the ground as soon as January 2015.
- Diagnostic hospital tool: This sensitive hospital diagnostic tool will detect the disease before symptoms have become visible, and therefore assists healthcare workers.
Rapid diagnostic technology can help save lives and prevent the virus from spreading.
Dr. Pierre Lafaye,
Head of the Structural Biology and Chemistry Unit