Mobile Ebola laboratory unit tested in Guinea
The suitcase contains diagnostic testing devices utilizing recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA); it was found to be able to provide results within a 30-minute time period. The study for this mobile diagnostic system took place in Guinea between March and May of this year. Over the course of the study, 928 swab samples were taken from patients suspected of having the Ebola virus.
"In the analysis we were able to determine two things," Ahmed Abd El Wahed, currently in the Department of Microbiology and Animal Hygiene at Göttingen and a visiting scientist at the German Primate Center, said. "First, RPA works very well with oral swab samples, which greatly simplifies sampling in the future, because it is faster and less complicated than sampling blood. Second, we have demonstrated that RPA is as sensitive and specific as the gold standard, but technically much more simpler than the real-time [polymerase chain reaction (PCR)] methods."
The system recorded 120 positive samples out of all samples taken.
According to Abd El Wahed, this system enables expediency and accuracy and is simple to use, and he states that the system should benefit future efforts against Ebola outbreaks.