Scottish university scientist behind successful rapid-detection Ebola test

November 06, 2015

A rapid-detection Ebola test developed by international scientists including a University of Stirling, Scotland virologist has been deployed following a highly effective pilot project.

Dr Manfred Weidmann, from the University's School of Natural Sciences, was part of a Wellcome Trust project led by the Pasteur Institute of Dakar.

Together, they developed a sophisticated point-of-care saliva test, all contained within a suitcase-sized mobile laboratory. Three mobile labs are now deployed in Senegal and Guinea and a test evaluation of 928 samples showed it performs exceptionally well under field conditions.

"There are more than 25 laboratories in West Africa and everyone is using different tests," said Dr Weidmann. "Ours, which uses a method called recombinase polymerase amplification, was compared to two other tests and results show it can be reliably used without the need for a confirmatory test, and it appears to outperform a widely used WHO recommended test.

"There has been a huge push for robotic testing systems, but they are difficult to establish and expensive to maintain. Our project has successfully developed and deployed a low cost mobile laboratory using a rapid, highly sensitive and specific assay which can be stored at room temperature and operated by local teams with its own energy supply."

Dr Weidmann has also developed a range of assays to detect other mosquito borne viruses, such as Dengue virus and Rift Valley Fever virus.

He added: "Mosquito-borne viruses can affect high numbers of people much faster than Ebola and outbreaks of Dengue virus and Rift Valley Fever virus have recently erupted in West-Africa.

"The system represents real progress in the quest to take the laboratory into the field. Our molecular test platform can be adapted to other infectious agents so these mobile laboratories are a sustainable solution for diagnosis of infectious disease in the region and elsewhere. They will remain in Guinea and Senegal to be used after all the expert teams which have provided laboratory testing in the Ebola disease crisis have left."

The research results are published in the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) journal Eurosurveillance.

The research was supported by the German Primate Centre; the Robert Koch Institute in Germany and Biocompanies Qiagen Lake Constance and TwistDx and the mobile laboratory was deployed in collaboration with the Laboratory for Hemorrhagic fever of Guinea at Donka hospital and the National Public Health Institute of Guinea.

Dr Weidmann is also midway through a two-year Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project bringing together scientists from across Europe and Africa to further develop bedside rapid diagnostics.
-end-


University of Stirling

Related Ebola Articles from Brightsurf:

Targeting the shell of the Ebola virus
As the world grapples with COVID-19, the Ebola virus is again raging.

Why doesn't Ebola cause disease in bats, as it does in people?
A new study by researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston uncovered new information on why the Ebola virus can live within bats without causing them harm, while the same virus wreaks deadly havoc to people.

Ebola transmission risks would be taken more seriously with ground-up interventions
A study led by the University of Kent's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) has found significant differences in disease risk perception and channels of information about Ebola virus disease (EVD) in rural areas and urban centres of Guinea, West Africa.

US inroads to better Ebola vaccine
As the world focuses on finding a COVID-19 vaccine, research continues on other potentially catastrophic pandemic diseases, including Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Ebola antibodies at work
Scientists in Israel and Germany show, on the molecular level, how an experimental vaccine offers long-term protection against the disease.

Half of Ebola outbreaks undetected
An estimated half of Ebola virus disease outbreaks have gone undetected since it was discovered in 1976, according to research published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Protecting those on the frontline from Ebola
Online training developed at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) increased the knowledge of health care workers about effective prevention of Ebola up to 19 percent and reduced critical errors to 2.3 percent in a small MUSC cohort.

Another piece of Ebola virus puzzle identified
A team of researchers have discovered the interaction between an Ebola virus protein and a protein in human cells that may be an important key to unlocking the pathway of replication of the killer disease in human hosts.

How the human immune system protects against Ebola
'The current approach for treatment of filovirus infections with antibody cocktails tested in animal models utilizes the principle of targeting of non-overlapping epitopes.

How to slow down Ebola
The phylogenetic tree of the 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic doesn't just tell us how the Ebola virus was able to evolve: it also reveals which events and preventive measures accelerated or slowed down its spread.

Read More: Ebola News and Ebola Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.