In late June, Partners In Health staff and colleagues published a study on a groundbreaking medical device. Appearing in The Lancet, the study shows that a portable, fast-working Ebola test called ReEBOV was widely effective.
The trial took place in Sierra Leone in February. A clinician pricked the finger of a patient suspected of having Ebola, placed a drop of blood on what looks like a plastic spoon, and less than a half hour later, a small strip of paper indicated whether the patient had Ebola or not. After 106 such tests, the authors found that ReEBOV was just as accurate as lab-based tests.
It’s great news. Getting results from a lab-based test can take days and of course requires a full-blown lab. ReEBOV, on the other hand, is speedy, easy to transport to wherever it’s needed, and presumably more affordable. While maybe not a “game changer”—as CBS News claimed, parroting a press release from the ReEBOV manufacturer—it’s a terrific new tool. Along with topnotch hospitals and clinics, well-trained doctors and nurses, ample stocks of medicines and supplies, ReEBOV could help snuff out future Ebola outbreaks before they become epidemics.