(HealthDay News) — A new rapid-detection test that diagnoses Ebola within minutes could improve treatment of the virus and help health care workers contain outbreaks, according to research published online June 25 in The Lancet.
Nira Pollock, MD, associate medical director of the Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues put a promising rapid-detection test developed by Colorado-based Corgenix to use during the outbreak in Sierra Leone. Local health workers were trained to perform the test, known as ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test. At two treatment centers in Sierra Leone, 106 people suspected of having Ebola underwent both rapid-detection and conventional testing in February.
The rapid-detection test accurately diagnosed all confirmed cases of Ebola, with a specificity of 92.2%. Missed cases of Ebola involved patients with very low levels of the virus. The study authors noted these cases were only detected using an alternative lab test that is not widely available.
“The ReEBOV rapid diagnostic test had 100% sensitivity and 92% specificity in both point-of-care and reference laboratory testing in this population (maximum cycle threshold, 26.3),” the authors write. “With two independent readers, the test detected all patients who were positive for Ebola virus by altona real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction; however, this benchmark itself had imperfect sensitivity.”