We have not heard much about Ebola lately. The most recent update is that it is still breaking out in West Africa. As of January 12 there have been almost 22,000 cases and over 8,300 deaths. The process for testing and knowing if one has the illness is very prolonged. A blood sample is taken which has to be tested in a lab which takes several days. A person may go 21 days before the symptoms appear.
Two freshmen pre-med students at Emory University may have come up with a solution. In October of 2014 they responded to a challenge from a professor to gain extra points by devising a new plan to fight Ebola. The new invention is called REDS-Rapid Ebola Detection Strips, which they claim will be able to detect the illness in only one hour. If it is successful people can be tested long before the symptoms occur.
What has to happen is testing the strips in a lab and developing a prototype. If effective a sample of body fluids like blood or saliva would change the color of the strips. The new concept and procedure is receiving a positive response from the health community. It is hoped that the REDS will be licensed for distribution early this year.
The big advantage of REDS is not only that they will provide early detection, but they will also be portable. A person will not have to go to a hospital to be tested. It would be possible to do it in the field, in remote areas, and in airports. They are being designed as well to work in extreme temperatures, even when refrigeration is not possible.
We should all hope for the best in this potential breakthrough. God made people with a remarkable capacity to think and create. Psalm 139:14 reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Genesis 1:27 says that we are “made in the image of God.” These two young college guys are using their human potential to go beyond themselves for the benefit of others. To what degree and in what ways are you using your God-given potential to make a difference?