Testing the DNA of the Ebola virus on-site in the field in less than a day is now possible thanks to a new system developed by researchers. Real-time genomic surveillance will provide information on the virus and its rate of evolution – as well as characterizing its response to treatments and vaccines.

The kit weighs less than 100 grams, plugs into a laptop through USB, and is safe to be transported in airline baggage.

Researchers used the system to sequence and analyse 142 Ebola virus samples, obtaining results in less than 24 hours.

Original research paper published in Nature on February 3, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected authors

Nicholas Loman, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Jared T. Simpson, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Ontario, and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research