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This Simple Strip of Paper Can Detect the Ebola Virus


(Photo: Wyss Institute/Harvard University)

There is now a great need to test large numbers of people for the Ebola virus. James J. Collins and his colleagues at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering have developed a simple tool that can help do that. It's a strip of paper embedded with chemicals that change colors when exposed to Ebola. Douglas McCormick of IEEE Spectrum reports:

It took them less than a day to produce a slip of paper that can detect the Ebola virus. Armed only with that slip and smartphone camera, a healthcare worker in the field could know within two hours—and sometimes in as little as 20 minutes—whether a patient is infected or not. And the doctor, nurse, or volunteer could do this without advanced skills, extensive sample preparation, expensive reagents, laboratory instruments, or even refrigeration.

-via Ian Chant


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