Madison area company working on new way to test for Ebola

As more health care professionals around the country continue to prepare to care for a potential Ebola patient, there's a company in Wisconsin working toward a better way of testing for Ebola. The company is called Lucigen and it's based in Middleton, just outside of Madison.

The screening for Ebola is limited to a check for fever, and a few questions.

This company called Lucigen began working on a blood test in 2012 that would screen for things like Ebola, and show results in less than an hour.

\"What we're doing now is really accelerating development because we believe within the next months and certainly within a year to have this test available.\" said Hemanth Shenoi, Business Development Director at Lucigen.

If health care professionals believe someone may have Ebola, a blood test needs to be sent out to a lab. The company says this test would give near instant results on-site.

A Lucigen spokesman says it's something that could be used by hospitals on patients, it could give health care workers a way to quickly screen themselves, and also could be used as a way to protect our country's borders.

\"What we're developing we believe could be an option for that front line responder to be able to make a test in under an hour and be able to make that decision for example do I admit someone to the U.S., or do I deny and put them in quarantine.\" Shenoi said.

The company tells me, it is talking with FDA to set up emergency approval for this test.

But that can't happen until this prototype is proven to work.

This test is still just a prototype and is not ready to be used because it still has not been proven to accurately detect Ebola.

And that company says that's because it can't run those trials in Madison, so it is now working with labs across the country who can test it on real Ebola.

\"We have never worked with live Ebola and we never will work with live Ebola. We simply don't have the facilities and we have no desire to have the actual Ebola virus within our facility or within Wisconsin.\" said Shenoi.

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