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Ebola test time slashed by new Toshiba-Nagasaki University reagent

JIJI, Staff Report

A new reagent developed jointly by Toshiba Corp. and Nagasaki University has shortened the time it takes to test for the Ebola virus to one-sixth of the current widely used method.

Testing carried out last month for 100 suspected Ebola patients at a national hospital in Conakry, capital of Guinea, West Africa, found a result could be produced in only 11 minutes or so, they company and university announced Wednesday.

The current method takes about an hour.

The tests in Conakry, in which blood or mucous membrane from the mouth was sampled, were carried out by staff at Nagasaki University, including Jiro Yasuda, a professor at its Institute of Tropical Medicine.

Yasuda said the results were in line with their expectations and he hoped the new reagent will come into use in Ebola-hit areas as soon as possible.

Guinea has been one of the West African nations worst-affected by the deadly disease, with a total 3,515 cases and 2,333 confirmed deaths as of Sunday, according to World Health Organization data.

The data show worldwide there have been 25,550 Ebola cases recorded and 10,587 deaths since the current outbreak began in March 2014.