Hollande promises hope to Ebola-hit Guinea

Researchers developing a 15-minute Ebola test say it is six times faster than similar ones

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French President François Hollande brought a message of hope to Guinea, as thousands of people lined the roads to catch a glimpse of the first Western leader to visit the region worst-affected by the current Ebola outbreak.

“There is hope: the hope of those who have been cured. The hope that we can control this epidemic... The very fact that hope exists,” said Mr Hollande, who was greeted by Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde. During his visit, Mr Hollande was to tour an Ebola treatment centre in the capital, Conakry, and meet with French health workers.

The visit came at the same time as an announcement that a new test designed to rapidly diagnose Ebola is to be tried out at a treatment centre in Guinea. Researchers developing the 15-minute Ebola test say it is six times faster than similar ones.

The trial, led by researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, and funded by Wellcome Trust medical charity and the UK’s Department for International Development, will use a portable, solar-powered “mobile suitcase laboratory”.