Up to 90% of Ebola victims will die without early diagnosis and medical intervention. Current detection methods are expensive, time-consuming and utilize complex instrumentation and chemicals that require uninterrupted refrigeration - a problem in rural communities. 2015 Google Science Fair Winner Olivia Hallisey shares how her optimism, fresh perspective and desire to make a meaningful impact on global health led to devising the Ebola Assay Card, a rapid, temperature-independent test that costs only $25.
At age 17, Olivia Hallisey developed a novel diagnostic test for Ebola as an independent research project for her high school science class. Learning about the epidemic’s exponential growth, she saw the critical need for early diagnosis in slowing and stopping the spread of the virus.
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Olivia Hallisey developed a novel diagnostic test for Ebola as an independent research project for her science research class. Learning about the epidemic’s exponential growth, she saw the critical need for early diagnosis as the key to slowing and stopping the spread of the virus. Existing diagnostic protocols were temperature-dependent, expensive, time-consuming and complicated. In comparison, the “Ebola Assay Card” (EAC) that Olivia developed encases reagents in a thin silk film, “breaking the cold chain” by making them temperature-independent, critical in many areas of the world where power may be intermittent or non-existent. Awarded the Grand Prize at the 2015 Google Science Fair for her work, the EAC is inexpensive, rapid, and indicates results through a color change, eliminating language barriers and increasing ease of use.
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