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30-minute Ebola test for quick diagnosis

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Japanese researchers reveal new method to detect Ebola virus in 30 minutes to allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection and save lives. 

A colorized image of the ebola virus taken by an electron microscope (electron micrograph). (Source: Wikipedia)

MEDICINE & BIOTECH

Japanese reveal 30-minute Ebola test

2/09/2014
AFP News agency

Health care workers at Elwa hospital's Ebola ward, run by French NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres, on August 30, 2014 in Monrovia

TOKYO - Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

Professor Jiro Yasuda and his team at Nagasaki University say their process is also cheaper than the system currently in use in west Africa where the virus has already killed more than 1,500 people.

"The new method is simpler than the current one and can be used in countries where expensive testing equipment is not available," Yasuda told AFP by telephone.

"We have yet to receive any questions or requests, but we are pleased to offer the system, which is ready to go," he said.

Yasuda said the team had developed what he called a "primer", which amplifies only those genes specific to the Ebola virus found in a blood sample or other bodily fluid.

Using existing techniques, ribonucleic acid (RNA) -- biological molecules used in the coding of genes -- is extracted from any viruses present in a blood sample.

This is then used to synthesise the viral DNA, which can be mixed with the primers and then heated to 60-65 degrees Celsius (140-149 Fahrenheit).

If Ebola is present, DNA specific to the virus is amplified in 30 minutes due to the action of the primers. The by-products from the process cause the liquid to become cloudy, providing visual confirmation, Yasuda said.

Currently, a method called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, is widely used to detect the Ebola virus, which requires doctors to heat and cool samples repeatedly and takes up to two hours.

"The new method only needs a small, battery-powered warmer and the entire system costs just tens of thousands of yen (hundreds of dollars), which developing countries should be able to afford," he added.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus, transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, has sparked alarm throughout western Africa and further afield.

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Vocabulary:

afford: to have enough money to be able to pay for something - มีเงินพอจับจ่าย  ซื้อหา

alarm: fear and anxiety that somebody feels when something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความกลัว

amplify: to increase something in strength, especially sound - ขยาย, ทำให้เพิ่มขึ้น

available: that you can get, use, find or buy - มีอยู่, หาได้

bodily: in the body; from the body -

code: a system of words, letters, numbers or symbols that represent a message or record information - รหัส

colorized: when a black and white photo or image is made into a color photo -

confirmation: a statement, letter, etc. that shows that something is true, correct or definite - การยืนยัน

contact: a situation in which people or things touch each other - การสัมผัส

current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน

detect: to find or prove that something is present using scientific methods - พบ

develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา

developing country: a country that is still growing and industrializing and is not yet a rich country - ประเทศกำลังพัฒนา

diagnose: to find out what physical or mental problem someone has by examining them - วินิจฉัย,ตรวจโรค

electron microscope: equipment that scientists use for taking photos of very small things - กล้องจุลทรรศน์อิเล็กตรอน, กล้องจุลทรรศน์ชนิดที่ใช้อิเล็กตรอนแทนลำแสงส่องดูวัตถุ มีกำลังขยายสูงกว่ากล้องจุลทรรศน์ธรรมดามาก [พจนานุกรมศัพท์ สสวท.]

equipment: the things that are needed for a particular purpose or activity - อุปกรณ์, เครื่องมือ

existing: used now - ที่มีอยู่

expensive: costing a lot of money - แพง

extract: to remove a substance from another substance - สกัด

fluid: a liquid; a substance that can flow - ของเหลว, ของไหล

further afield: farther away -

gene: a unit inside a cell which controls a particular quality in a living thing that has been passed on from its parents - ยีน

infected: having a disease transmitted from someone else - ซึ่งติดเชื้อ

infection: a disease or medical condition that is caused by a bacteria or by a virus or a parasite - การติดเชื้อ

liquid: a substance that flows freely and is not a solid or a gas, for example water or oil - ของเหลว

method: a particular way of doing something - วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ

mixed: a combination or mixture of different things - ผสม

outbreak: the sudden start of a disease - การระบาดของโรค

PCR: polymerase chain reaction; a biotech technology used to amplify a single copy of DNA generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence that can then be used to do things such as test for a disease or for genetic fingerprinting in criminal forensics (Source: Wikipedia) -

pleased: happy and satisfied - พอใจ, ปลื้ม

polymerase chain reaction (PCR): a biotech technology used to amplify a single copy of DNA generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence that can then be used to do things such as test for a disease or for genetic fingerprinting in criminal forensics (Source: Wikipedia) -

presence: the fact of being in a particular place, thing or situation - การเข้าร่วม, การมีอยู่

process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ

repeatedly: happening, said or done many times - อย่างซ้ำๆ

request: an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way - การขอร้อง

researcher: a person who carriers out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย

sample: a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests - ตัวอย่างทดลอง

spark: to make something happen, especially something bad - ก่อให้เกิด

specific: involving or relating to only one particular thing or type of thing - เฉพาะเจาะจง, โดยเฉพาะ

synthesise: to produce a substance by means of chemical or biological processes - สังเคราะห์

technique: a method of doing something using a special skill that you have developed - เทคนิค, กลวิธี (เฉพาะด้าน)

transmitted: sent - ส่ง

visual: relating to sight - เกี่ยวกับการมองเห็น

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