FAU to develop device to rapidly detect Zika

The test could have results in 15 minutes
Posted at 5:38 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 17:38:53-05

South Florida is several weeks away from the rainy season, which many experts fear will bring a second straight summer of Zika cases.

Florida's Department of Health has granted researchers at Florida Atlantic University nearly $200,000 to develop a new test for detecting the Zika virus.

During last year's Zika scare, the state recommended doctors run a blood test on all pregnant women for the virus.

The problem was that it took at least a month for a lab to turn around the results.

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Scientists at FAU said they might have a quick and easy solution.

They hope they're close to a perfecting a new Zika test on a person's saliva or urine that would offer results in 15 minutes or less and cost just a few dollars.

"This kind of technology where you can have electrodes on a paper surface is low cost so thousands of these kinds of SAs can be printed and made very quickly and can be distributed,” said Waseem Asghar, lead investigator and assistant professor researcher at FAU.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus in which there is no cure.

The health department reports there were 262 locally transmitted cases of Zika in Florida in 2016.

The FAU team working on this new Zika test said it will not be ready for use this summer, but believes it will be ready in 2018.