Study finds Toshiba's Ebola test gives results in around 11 minutes

An Ebola test developed jointly by Toshiba and Nagasaki University provides results in just over 11 minutes, compared to the 90-minute polymerase chain reaction test currently used, the parties said. Researcher Jiro Yasuda from Nagasaki University's Institute of Tropical Medicine remarked that "the result time was unexpectedly short."

In a trial conducted in Guinea, the test, which uses blood or mucous membrane samples from the mouth, was evaluated in 100 patients with suspected Ebola virus, of which 47 proved positive. Yasuda explained that with the new test, DNA specific to the Ebola virus is amplified by the action of primers, and the by-products cause the liquid to become cloudy, providing visual confirmation.

Yasuda further noted the Guinean government asked the institute and Toshiba to supply equipment to launch the test, adding that he hoped the new reagent would be used in Ebola-affected areas as soon as possible.

Current tests for Ebola include Corgenix Medical's ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test, which has received approval from the World Health Organization, and Roche's LightMix Ebola Zaire rRT-PCR Test, which has been granted FDA emergency use authorisation. Meanwhile, bioMérieux's BioFire Defense's FilmArray Ebola test, called the BioThreat-E test, has also received emergency use authorisation from the FDA.

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