ISLAMABAD: Scientists have come up with quick test for Ebola that can diagnose the deadly disease within 10 minutes.
The new test from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers involves a device, a simple paper strip similar to a pregnancy test, that can rapidly diagnose Ebola, as well as other viral hemorrhagic fevers such as yellow fever and dengue fever.
The new device relies on lateral flow technology, which is used in pregnancy tests and has recently been exploited for diagnosing strep throat and other bacterial infections.
Until now, however, no one has applied a multiplexing approach, using multicolored nanoparticles, to simultaneously screen for multiple pathogens, Medical Xpress? reported.
Unlike most existing paper diagnostics, which test for only one disease, the new MIT strips are color-coded so they can be used to distinguish among several diseases.
To achieve that, the researchers used triangular nanoparticles made of silver, which can take on different colors depending on their size.
The researchers created red, orange, and green nanoparticles and linked them to antibodies that recognize Ebola, dengue fever, and yellow fever.
As a patient’s blood serum flows along the strip, any viral proteins that match the antibodies painted on the stripes will get caught, and those nanoparticles will become visible. This can be seen by the naked eye; for those who are colorblind, a cellphone camera could be used to distinguish the colors.
This type of device could also be customized to detect other viral hemorrhagic fevers or other infectious diseases, by linking the silver nanoparticles to different antibodies.