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Google Science Fair: 16-Year-Old Student Scientist Wins Event with Ebola Test [VIDEO]

Sep 22, 2015 12:35 PM EDT
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There's movement in the search for a way forward against Ebola. That is, Olivia Hallisey, a 16-year-old from Connecticut, was the top winner at this year's Google Science Fair with a low-cost, temperature-independent, test for Ebola, which can be designed in 30 minutes to transport antibodies to test--and will maintain them for up to a week without refrigeration. It resembles a quick pregnancy test, will allow for detection even when patients lack symptoms, and has a cost of $25, as the Connecticut Science Fair website noted.

Hallisey pursued the project after being shocked to hear about the fast spread of the Ebola epidemic in Africa. Recalling a science lesson about silk storage, she wondered if silk's stabilizing properties would allow Ebola antibodies to travel longer without refrigeration. Trying a few approaches, she landed on an Ebola Assay card that stores antibodies (for Ebola, HIV and other diseases) short-term until they are tested, as the Google Education Blog noted. 

This high-school student became interested in science as a child, influenced by her late grandfather, a doctor and medical researcher. "He was passionate about science and medicine and cared deeply that his work would contribute toward a greater understanding and a cure for diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis and Alzheimers," according to the Google Education Blog. 

Hallisey hopes someday to work for a global health organization, such as Doctors Without Borders, the blog noted.

To see Hallisey's description of each step of her invention, click here on the Google Science site.

To see a video of Hallisey's presentation from Google Science's YouTube channel, click here.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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