Local research: Ebola test results in 10 minutes - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local research: Ebola test results in 10 minutes

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego researchers are on the forefront in fighting the Ebola crisis. Carlsbad researchers created the serum, ZMAPP, an experimental drug to treat two U.S. doctors who contracted the Ebola virus and survived. 

Now, a San Diego company is working to create an Ebola test that can show results in 10 minutes.

San Diego's Genalyte works with several of the world's top pharmaceutical companies and they are now working with the Federal Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on a low-maintenance and operational instrument to test for Ebola with a finger prick of blood.

"There is no combination of rapid and sensitive tests and we fill that gap," said Genalyte CEO Cary Gunn, Ph.D.

Gunn says the rapid test shows Ebola and other infection results in 10 minutes, other instruments can take 15 minutes, but those companies also need FDA approval.

"An installation of our instruments can do 100 samples per hour," said Gunn.

Currently, the FDA has only approved a polymerase chain reaction test (PCR) that can take two hours for results.

Gunn says with the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute and private funding it has helped create the instrument that can cost more than a $100,000 but each chip is $10 to test. Gunn says he's been working on the technology for seven years.

"This is Silicon Valley technology applied to diagnostics," said Gunn.

The silicon chip measures proteins as blood flows over it test for Ebola.

Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan had to wait days before being diagnosed with Ebola and later died, already spreading it two nurses in Dallas.

"The story around quarantining people and having to take their temperature and wait for them to become symptomatic before they report themselves, obviously there is a problem with that," said Gunn.

Now the CEO of the San Diego company is asking for the FDA to fast-track the instrument for approval.

"The fact that there is an opportunity to make a difference and to deploy the technology of a rapid result from a finger prick is very important to the way this entire epidemic unfolds," said Gunn.

He says next week Genalyte's Ebola test will be evaluated in government labs.

The FDA sent CBS News 8 this statement, "Federal law and FDA regulations prohibit the agency from sharing information about products that are in development or may be under review. FDA understands the importance of quickly diagnosing Ebola cases in the U.S. and abroad. We are committed to working with companies in the most expedited manner to increase the availability of authorized diagnostic tests for Ebola for emergency use during this epidemic."

In other local Ebola research, San Diego's Scripps Research Institute Erica Ollmann-Saphire, Ph.D. who helped create ZMapp is using crowdfunding to raise money to cure Ebola.

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