Updated on 13 November 2014
Dr Hess, chief scientific officer, and Dr Olschläger, project leader, R&D, Altona Diagnostics
Singapore: Speaking to BioSpectrum Asia, Dr Hess and Dr Ölschläger from Altona Diagnostics share their expert insights on Ebola diagnosis and the current outbreak haunting the globe. Excerpts:
1. How did Ebola grow to become a threat?
The current outbreak started in Guinea in December 2013,. This epidemic turned out to be more devastating in comparison to former outbreaks in Africa as that it happened in an area which served as an important traffic junction. The trans-border traffic between Guinea, Liberia and Sierra-Leone facilitated the rapid distribution of the virus over a wider area. Lack of proper hospital facilities and specific conditions in Africa caused wide spread dissemination of the virus.
2. Please tell us about the principle and specific procedure to use the novel diagnostic kit developed for Ebola.
The novel kit consists of an assay that amplifies certain regions of the viral genome and detects the amplification products with specific probes. The assay is based on standard real-time RT-PCR and works on a number of different real-time PCR cyclers. If filovirus RNA is present in a sample the reaction will generate a fluorescence signal which can then be detected by appropriate real-time PCR cycler.
Sample preparation can be done with different methods that yield highly purified RNA suitable for RT-PCR. The kit is a ready to use test system comprising of two Master reagents (Master A and B), an Internal Control, Positive Controls and PCR-grade water. The kit is very easy to handle as it has a very simple workflow. The test result will be ready after approximately 2.5 hours.