Brazilian Researchers Develop Faster Test to Detect Zika Virus

From The Rio Times
April 15, 2019

BRASILIA, BRAZIL – A cheaper and faster test for detecting the Zika virus is being developed by Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) in Pernambuco, Brazil. The researchers are hopeful that the new test will help save lives, especially outside big cities.

“Given that the current technique (PCR, or polymerase chain reaction) is extremely expensive and Brazil has few reference laboratories that can perform the Zika diagnosis, a small city in the countryside ends up being impaired by a lack of resources. The sample needs to be taken to the capital in order to be processed. The results can take fifteen days,” explains researcher Severino Jefferson Ribeiro.

In addition to costing forty times less, the new test provides results in twenty minutes. It is also more accurate, has a lower error rate, and detects disease in cases where the PCRmethod cannot, says Ribeiro.

Another advantage of the new test is that it can be done by any health professional since it doesn’t require complex training. A health agent needs simply to collect saliva and urine samples, mix with the supplied reagents in a small plastic tube, and then heat up the mixture in a water bath.

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