A teen wins an award for inventing the 25$ Ebola detection kit and brings a breakthrough to the medical community, who will greatly benefit from her design in order to combat the deadly and infectious disease. It’s quite inspiring when young minds fight and find solutions to world’s problems.
- Olivia Hallisey is a 17-year-old high school student at Greenwhich
- She participated and won the Google Global Science Fair 2015, along with a $50,000 education scholarship
- The Ebola Assay Card (EAC) costs $25, and needs only 30 minutes to complete the test
- Hallisey hopes to adapt the test for HIV, dengue fever, yellow fever or cancer
Olivia Hallisey, a Greenwhich High School (GHS) junior student has recently won the grand prize at the Google Global Science Fair 2015, by beating out thousands of others with incredible science projects. Hallisey tackled the devastating issue of the current Ebola breakout, officially deemed as the deadliest in history since the virus’ discovery in 1976.
The problem is still existing to this day in West Africa, where countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have seen to 11,000 people dying due to the disease. It’s a tragic issue of our age that has wrecked the population of underdeveloped countries.
Current diagnosing tools, or ELISA techniques, are highly complex and costly, requiring continuous refrigeration up from the manufacturing process to use, and then through the waiting period of the result. Most take up to 12 hours to provide the answer and properly detect if the virus is present in the patient, precious time that could be otherwise used for treatment.
Stable refrigeration is difficult, if not impossible, to find in underdeveloped countries, and that is precisely the premise on which Hallisey built her breakthrough project. She took the existing methods of the ELISA techniques, and developed her own kit, the Ebola Assay Card (EAC).
The invention presents itself with two incredible improvements over existing methods, by using a silk card that stabilizes the substances which react to common Ebola antigens. It requires no refrigeration, and it’s perfectly stable at room temperatures, with a simple color to tell if the infection is present.
Furthermore, EAC can perform the test and come up with an accurate diagnosis after just 30 minutes, severely cutting down on time.
It can pave the way for early prevention and new methods of applying treatment on an infected patient. It will hopefully also stop the virus from spreading through quick detection after it becomes symptomatic and infectious. This could be the break the medical community has been waiting for.
According to Hallisey, the current price for one EAC kit stands at a low $25, but she hopes that the cost will decrease even further when it will be manufactured in bulk. It’s in her hopes that the currently high 90% mortality rate of the Ebola virus will fall down to 50% through early detection methods.
Hallisey has also received a $50,000 education scholarship for her project, which she will use to continue her studies, and find ways to adapt her kit for testing HIV, Lyme disease, dengue fever or even some types of cancer.
Image source: ibtimes.co.uk