Thermo Fisher contributes to Ebola screening program

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  • Published: Feb 4, 2015
  • Author: Jon Evans
  • Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Suppliers: Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Channels: Proteomics & Genomics / Electrophoresis
thumbnail image: Thermo Fisher contributes to Ebola screening program

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced its participation in a collaborative training program designed to combat the potential threat of an Ebola virus epidemic in Ivory Coast. Also participating in the program are Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) in Philadelphia, US, the Pasteur Institute in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and the Organization of International Visitors of the USA.

A central component of the program involves training Solange Ngazoa Kakou, head of the Molecular Biology Platform at the Pasteur Institute in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to screen samples for the Ebola virus using advanced qPCR instruments. After her training, Kakou will return to West Africa to train others in the field. Screening patient samples to identify, quarantine and treat those who test positive for the Ebola virus has already been critical for slowing the spread of the infection in Africa and elsewhere around the world.

The four-week training program will take place in the laboratory of Matthias Schnell, professor of microbiology and immunology at TJU, whose research team is developing an Ebola virus vaccine that is expected to move into clinical trials in mid-2015. Thermo Fisher will provide its StepOnePlus Real-Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) molecular screening instruments both for the training at TJU and for conducting screening in West Africa, where a training center will be established in Abidjan. While initial training focuses on Ebola screening, there is potential to expand the program to include other pathogens relevant to the region, including malaria, dengue fever and Lassa fever.

‘My training has significant effect as it will improve our molecular testing quality and the implementation of new methods for surveillance and research,’ said Kakou. ‘The collaboration with TJU scientists will help our training of medical scientists in West Africa and efforts in hemorrhagic virus control.’

‘Preventative steps like those being taken through this collaborative training program are critical to eventually put an end to this epidemic,’ said Dan Didier, head of public health at Thermo Fisher Scientific. ‘As we’ve seen with past outbreaks, this flexible molecular technology can play a key role in identifying and screening samples for many other pathogens affecting human health in the West African region.’

(Photo of Solange Ngazoa Kakou and Matthias Schnell at TSU courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific.)

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