WHO Clears 15-Minute, Easy-to-Use Test for Ebola

By Megan Brooks

Medscape Medical News

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first rapid test for Ebola virus disease for use in hard-hit countries.

The ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test Kit (Corgenix Medical Corp) was evaluated under the WHO's Emergency Assessment and Use, a procedure established to provide minimum quality, safety, and performance assurance for diagnostic products in the context of the Ebola emergency, the WHO explains in a news release.

Nucleic acid tests are currently being used to test for Ebola in outbreak countries. They are more accurate than the rapid test but are also more complex and time-consuming, taking 12 to 24 hours to yield results.

"The ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test, which can provide results within 15 minutes, is based on detection of the Ebola protein rather than nucleic acid," the WHO says.

The test is able to correctly identify about 92% of Ebola-infected patients and 85% of those not infected with the virus, the agency notes.

"While less accurate, the antigen test is rapid, easy to perform and does not require electricity — it can therefore be used at lower health care facilities or in mobile units for patients in remote settings. Where possible, results from ReEBOV antigen Rapid Test Kit should be confirmed by testing a new blood sample using an approved Ebola [nucleic acid test]," the WHO advises.

The current Ebola outbreak is the worst on record. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease has affected more than 23,000 people and killed more than 9400, mainly in the West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

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SOURCE:

WHO Clears 15-Minute, Easy-to-Use Test for Ebola. Medscape. Feb 20, 2015.

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