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Ultra-sensitive rapid diagnostic for Ebola

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has developed a highly sensitive and rapid diagnostic test for Ebola virus (EBOV) infection.

In monkeys infected with Ebola, this diagnostic, called the D4 assay, proved to be 1000 times more sensitive than the currently approved rapid diagnostic test and capable of detecting the virus a full day earlier than the gold standard polymerase chain reaction test.

This work was done by biomedical engineers, molecular biologists, and immunologists at Duke University, and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Galveston National Laboratory.

The D4 assay for Ebola is made by inkjet printing two antibodies against secreted glycoprotein onto a glass slide: detection antibodies, which are tagged with a fluorescent marker, and capture antibodies, which are primed to bind the target antigen.

When a drop of blood or a throat or nose swab is placed on the slide, the detection antibodies separate from the array and bind to the target in the sample.

These antibody-biomarker complexes then attach to the capture antibodies on the slide, which glow to indicate a capture.

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Image credit | Michaela-Kane-Duke-University

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