Bedside Ebola Diagnostic

Successful field trial in Sierra Leone is potential game changer for treatment and containment

Image of person in full protective gear examining a patient
Partners In Health recruit Dr. Dana Clutter, in full PPE, tends to a patient in the triage/intake area of the Maforki Ebola Treatment Unit in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. Image: Rebecca E. Rollins / Partners In Health

A new test can accurately diagnose Ebola virus disease within minutes, providing clinicians with crucial information for treating patients and containing outbreaks.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Partners In Health and Boston Children’s Hospital have shown that a new commercially developed rapid diagnostic test performed at bedside was as sensitive as a conventional laboratory-based method used for clinical testing during the recent outbreak in Sierra Leone. The results are published in The Lancet.

While the West African Ebola epidemic has slowed since its peak last fall, the crisis simmers on; there were still 24 confirmed cases of Ebola reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone in the week ending June 14.

woman on a park bench
Megan Murray, director of the HMS research core in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, credits community-based, collaborative research in the success of the study.