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New Japanese Test Detects Ebola in 30 Minutes

Update Date: Sep 02, 2014 02:49 PM EDT
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Japanese researchers have developed a new technique to detect Ebola in 30 minutes, claiming it is faster than existing detection process which takes around two hours.

According to the Business Insider, the researchers from Nagasaki University have developed primers that can interact with the virus and amplify it on heating the mixture. The resulting reaction between primers and the virus clouds the solution, providing a visual indication of Ebola's presence.

"The new method is simpler than the current one and can be used in countries where expensive testing equipment is not available," Professor Jiro Yasuda was quoted saying by Business Insider.

Yasuda and his research team from Nagasaki University claim their technique is not just faster but is also economically viable for poor nations. It can be used on the field.  

"The new method only needs a small, battery-powered warmer and the entire system costs just tens of thousands of yen (hundreds of dollars), which developing countries should be able to afford," he said.

The Health Site described the existing technique, Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR, as a two-hour process for Ebola detection as it involves repeated heating and cooling blood samples.

The new technique can detect virus in body fluids by extracting viral RNA to synthesize viral DNA which is then mixed with the primers. Though no takers have approached the research team, they said their technique is ready to be deployed.  

IB Times reported that the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed 1,550. More than 3,000 have been infected as the world seeks to find a cure. An experimental drug Zmapp has shown positive results in monkeys but human trails are pending. Two Americans who received it have recovered though it is not known if the drug aided their recovery owing to 45% recovery chance seen during the current outbreak. 

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