100,000 Ebola assays in total provided by Navy Medical Research Team

After a large batch of Ebola specific PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) master mix is produced under ISO accredited standards, the mix is aliquoted into individual tubes. These reagents are tested under a strict quality assurance plan before shipping to q | (Photo courtesy of NMRC Public Affairs)
Since the start of the current Ebola outbreak, the Naval Medical Research Team (NMRC) with the Department of Defense has been producing detection assays that now number more than 100,000.

The assays have been critical in determining cases of Ebola in West Africa and in the screening of possible contacts to aid in preventive measures. The Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) has been at the forefront of production.

“This effort is a great example of what BDRD is capable of, quick rapid turnaround to provide detection assays for emerging infectious diseases anywhere on the globe,” BDRD Deputy Director Cmdr. Guillermo Pimentel said.

The Ebola virus has a high mortality rate, ranging from 41 to 90 percent in previous outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization. It is most commonly spread among families and health workers because the virus spreads via contact with infected bodily fluid such as blood or sweat. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is classified as an A-level potential bioterrorism threat.

BDRD's focus is to protect military personnel. It is certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a national laboratory within the Laboratory Response Network for the testing and analysis of biological agents.

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