Advanced Ebola tests confront Africa’s latest outbreak


During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, between 2014 and 2016, it often took days to diagnose the virus.John Moore/Getty

Health workers fighting the Ebola epidemic that swept West Africa several years ago waited days, even a week, for the results of laboratory tests to detect the deadly virus. But in an Ebola outbreak that began in early April in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), this waiting time has shrunk to hours — thanks to a genetic test that was developed in response to the 2014-2016 West African epidemic.

Researchers and health officials credit the faster tests with helping to contain the spread of Ebola in the DRC, by allowing those infected to be isolated and their contacts traced promptly. And should sparks from this outbreak light new fires…

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