An international team of researchers has created a device about the size of a cell phone that can rapidly detect Ebola within samples of blood. It is a miniaturized single-step reverse-transcription PCR machine that detects Ebola RNA in about forty minutes.
The device takes two samples and two controls and produces results using graphs that show how many matching RNA particles were detected. One control has a Ebola RNA while the other one doesn’t, allowing the user of the device to be sure it’s performing detection accurately.
From the study abstract in journal Analytical Chemistry:
We show the utilization of a recently developed cellphone-sized real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device to detect Ebola virus RNA using single-step reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR). The device was shown to concurrently perform four PCRs, each with a sample volume of 100 nL: one positive control with both Ebola and GAPDH RNA and one negative control. The last two positions were used to measure the GAPDH and the Ebola content of a sample. A comparison of threshold cycles (CT) from the two samples provided relative quantification. The entire process, which consisted of reverse transcription, PCR amplification, and melting curve analysis (MCA), was conducted in less than 37 min. The next step will be integration with a sample preparation unit to form an integrated sample-to-answer system for point-of-care infectious disease diagnostics.
Article in journal Analytical Chemistry: Palm-Sized Device for Point-of-Care Ebola Detection…