Broomfield lab making rapid test for Ebola
DENVER — The growing number of Ebola virus cases have many people worried.
Experts say although your chances getting it are slim, they are prepared to keep us safe.
While Ebola spreads rapidly through West Africa, it is a lab in Broomfield that’s at the forefront of efforts to contain the disease.
The Corgenix lab created a test that can detect the Ebola virus. Right now it’s being used by health organizations in areas where the virus is a serious threat.
“The outbreak has gotten so severe because the main method of transmission is from person to person,” said Researcher Matt Boisen.
Early detection is key in fighting the disease. However, current tests only show results in seven to ten days because samples have to be flown to testing centers in Europe.
That is a long time to wait if patients need to be quarantined since the disease is so contagious.
Now thanks to a nearly $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Corgenix is perfecting a home blood test kit that would provide results in just 15 minutes.
That’s key because Ebola can cause the same symptoms as some other illnesses, making a test to identify it early a crucial tool in keeping the disease from spreading.
“Most patients suspect that they have malaria or typhoid,” Boisen said. “It makes it difficult to catch the patient early on.”
Medical experts say it’s important to not get the wrong impression about how the Ebola virus is spread.
“As far as picking it up from a doorknob or anything like that, these viruses don’t tolerate that kind of exposure very long,” Boisen said. “It’s more direct contact with a patients fluids like blood.”
While it is frightening to hear about the Ebola virus, it is reassuring to know that doctors and researchers in the U.S. have a plan to handle it.
Staff at the centers for disease control and other organizations work with local health officials to track the occurrence of suspicious symptoms so any patterns can be spotted right away.
Experts say Ebola outbreaks tend to occur every few years then become almost non-existent.
Corgenix hopes to gain final approval for the home test kits within the next three years, just before the next outbreak is expected to happen.