Emory Students Join the Fight Against Ebola

Two Emory University freshman have joined the fight against Ebola. Rostman Zafari, a creative writing and philosophy major, and Brian Goldstone, a history major, just designed Rapid Ebola Detection Strips (REDS). Proving themselves to be rather inventive pre-med students,they designed the portable test strip kit for extra credit quiz points and they have the potential to save countless lives in addition to those points.

Goldstone says, “I saw an opportunity. I was excited and grabbed the bull by the horns.”

Similar to the strips that are able to test blood sugar and protein in urine, REDS functions much the same and will show results within an hour. Only a small amount of blood is needed to be placed on the test strip and a resulting color change with determine whether the subject has the Ebola virus or not.

The current process for testing Ebola in hospitals is not a speedy  by any means and can take up to five days to receive results. The time lapse is a rather sensitive issue when you take the incubation period of the virus before symptoms may present themselves into account. By the time a patient becomes contagious, they have already come into contact with countless people that become in danger of contracting the virus as well. Zafari and Goldstone say that this is why REDS quick detection process is so important.

Zafari says, “The sooner we can detect it, the less it spreads, and the more lives we can save. If we can get them before they show symptoms, we can really curb the impact of the virus”

REDS will undergo further development and testing during the creation of a prototype in the coming weeks. Such stock is being taken in the potential of the test strips that Goldstone and Zafari will soon have access to a de-active part of the virus to test and fine tune the project.

Upon completion of the prototype and perfection of the testing is complete, Zafari and Goldstone intend to take REDS to the next level and mass produce it for distribution in other countries with a focus on Africa first. The life saving potential of an easy to use test strip like this that is also inexpensive, is huge.

Goldstone says, “Ebola is not just an African problem, but a human problem. It shouldn’t have taken it coming to the Unites States to get us into action.”

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