A doctor works in a laboratory on collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37 km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, August 2, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Edward Echwalu
Canada announced Sunday it is sending a mobile laboratory to help stem an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg will set up the laboratory in the affected region to provide rapid diagnostic testing, which is pivotal in responding effectively to the outbreak, a statement issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada says. On-site lab tests that can produce results in only a few hours allow for faster isolation of Ebola cases and better treatment for patients. This reduces the risk of people who are infected from spreading the virus to others, which saves lives and helps contain the outbreak.
"This is a very serious situation and the agency is proud to assist in the response," Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director General of the National Microbiology Laboratory, said in the statement. "It's very important that the international community come together to help control an outbreak of this nature, both for humanitarian reasons and to protect the health of all global citizens."
The team is being led by Dr. Gary Kobinger, who has built a strong global presence with his research into Ebola and other viral haemorrhagic fevers. Recently, Dr. Kobinger and his team have received international recognition for the ground-breaking development of an Ebola treatment and vaccine. The Agency's team also has extensive field experience from previous outbreaks around the world including in similar locations.
Ebola virus is a highly contagious illness that causes death in 25 to 90% of all cases.