Testing for Zika could be easy with new technology.

Zika is now being actively transmitted in 49 countries around the world and expected to infect 4 million people by the end of 2016. So far, doctors have only been able to definitively detect the virus when they can send blood samples to a specialized lab for difficult genetic testing.

But now, researchers from a large collective of universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the University of Toronto have developed an easy way to detect Zika in about an hour. Their research was published today (May 9) in Cell.

“In response to an emerging outbreak, we envision a custom-tailored diagnostic system could be ready for use within one week’s time,” James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard and lead author of the paper, said in a press release.

Building upon research that had been done in the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the team created a paper-based test that changes color when it detects Zika in a sample of blood, urine, or saliva. The test is able to replicate strains of genetic material found in a sample….


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