Purdue researchers develop technology to detect the Zika virus faster

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue university researchers have made a major advancement in detecting the mosquito borne diseases like the Zika virus.

A model five years in the making is finally showing promise. This technology can detect the presence of mosquito borne illnesses like the Zika or West Nile virus within 30 minutes.

"It is important to detect early so intervention can happen before the one or two weeks that usually the lab test take to get back," lead researcher Lia Stanciu said.

Professor Stanciu is leading the research. She was inspired after a trip to Brazil where she saw little hope to stop outbreaks before they happen. The team developed a formula that reacts when it comes in contact with the diseases.

"It is the property of our electrode before the detection of Zika virus and it is after the Zika virus detection," Purdue University Ph.D. candidate, Seonah Jin said.

Right now there's no quick and easy way to know if you have the virus.

"The only way to detect whether you have Zika is to go to the state, send the sample to a state laboratory or to the CDC and it takes them weeks because they're backed up because every pregnant woman in south Florida is concerned about having Zika so if you could do this in a doctor's office or at home you could have peace of mind," assistant professor, Jacqueline Linnes said.

The next step is to take the findings from the lab to the public to get results cheaper and faster.

"You could go to your provider or potentially the drug store you could get this test. They would take a sample of urine or blood add it to the chip everything flows along and 30 minutes later you could have a result that says infected or not infected," Linnes said.

Until this is available to everyone this team will keep working in hopes companies will get on board to help stop outbreaks of these illnesses.

"We have the proof that we can do it and now we need to shrink it down and in a couple of years it could be sitting on a shelf that you could purchase," Linnes said.

The team is trying to secure funding to create the condensed version of the technology that would allow people to even test themselves for mosquito borne illnesses.