Kansas City firm to send mobile Ebola-testing labs to Africa

MRIGlobal plans to send two mobile labs to Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone. | Courtesy of MRIGlobal

MRIGlobal said Tuesday that it is sending two clinical diagnostic laboratories to Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone.

The Kansas City, Missouri-based company, which has designed and developed mobile labs for over a decade, has a contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to supply the labs. The company said the diagnostic labs would contain analytical equipment used to quickly diagnose the Ebola virus. Both labs would come equipped with generators to power the facilities, communication systems, clean water and living quarters.

"MRIGlobal proudly joins the national response against the Ebola epidemic," Thomas Sack, president and chief executive officer of MRIGlobal, said. "Our unique expertise in the design, development  and deployment of mobile systems is a valuable asset to the nation's Ebola response."

An Antonov AN-124 Rusian, a strategic airlift jet, will carry the two labs from MRIGlobal's headquarters in Kansas City to Sierra Leone, the company said.

Sack said getting a quick diagnosis is still a major challenge facing health care workers fighting the Ebola virus. Patients may wait for several days for their samples to be sent to different labs for testing.

"Our labs bring the reference labs to the field, enabling quick diagnosis,” Sack said. “That means health care workers can quickly isolate Ebola patients, a critical step to decrease exposure and institute treatment protocols."

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