Bahia Health Department registered with the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) and presented today (May 31), in Salvador city, the first national rapid serology test to detect the Zika virus. Thus, the result that used to take weeks is now presented in up to 20 minutes.
Bahia Health Secretary Fábio Villas-Boas points out that the rapid test will help people a lot, for example, by letting women find out whether they had been or are infected with the virus. "Especially for women of childbearing age, it is extremely relevant to obtain the information on Zika infection to help them reach the decision of having a pregnancy," Villas-Boas noted.
The portable device has two tapes (cassette) and take a small sample of the patient's serum. One of the tapes reacts with IgM antibodies, diagnosing infections within a two-week period. The second cassette reacts with IgG and identifies whether the patient has contracted the infection before this period. This allows the rapid test to detect antibodies against Zika virus in the patient's body at any stage of the disease.
"Zika used to be diagnosed in a laboratory by using reverse transcription PCR [method that detects the virus genetic information], which was time consuming and expensive. From now on, any health center, even in the country's most remote places, can reach a diagnosis and, in just 20 minutes, the population will have the result if they have or had Zika," the secretary explained.
Bahia Health Department established a partnership with a South Korean company, which transferred the technology to the laboratory of the Bahia Foundation for Scientific Research and Technological Development (BahiaFarma) and allowed the test development.
The foundation is now waiting for the request of the Health Ministry to start developing and distributing it to Brazil's entire population. The initial estimate may be of up to 500,000 tests per month.
Translated by Amarílis Anchieta
Fonte: Agência Brasil.