Rapid Ebola test to detect early infection in the works | Science News

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Rapid Ebola test to detect early infection in the works

Paired antibodies could target small bits of virus in blood sample

By
4:46pm, February 10, 2017
Ebola virus

TEAM PLAYERS  Researchers are designing antibody pairs that can help detect the Ebola virus (shown) sooner.

WASHINGTON — Diagnosing Ebola earlier is becoming almost as easy as taking a home pregnancy test. 

Scientists are developing antibodies for a test that can sniff out the deadly virus more quickly and efficiently than current tests, researchers reported February 6 at the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats meeting.

Detecting Ebola’s genetic material in patients’ blood samples now takes a full day and requires access to a specialized laboratory. Simpler and speedier tests are available. They use antibodies — specialized proteins that latch onto and flag virus particles — and work somewhat like a pregnancy test. Within 10 or 15 minutes of dabbing a blood sample onto a piece of paper, a colored line confirms the presence of the virus. But currently these tests don’t give accurate results until the patient has been sick for a while, said

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