Paired antibodies could target small bits of virus in blood sample
Frederick A. Murphy/CDC
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