Mobile diagnostics in outbreak response, not only for Ebola: a blueprint for a modular and robust field laboratory

Roman Wölfel, Kilian Stoecker, Erna Fleischmann, Brigitte Gramsamer, Matthias Wagner, Peter Molkenthin, Antonino Di Caro, Stephan Günther, Sofi Ibrahim, Gelimer H. Genzel, Amanda J. Ozin-Hofsäss, Pierre Formenty, Lothar Zöller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We established a modular, rapidly deployable laboratory system that provides diagnostic support in resource-limited, remote areas. Developed as a quick response asset to unusual outbreaks of infectious diseases worldwide, several of these laboratories have been used as part of the World Health Organization response to the Ebola virus outbreaks by teams of the 'European Mobile Lab' project in West Africa since March 2014. Within three days from deployment, the first European mobile laboratory became operational at the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Guéckédou, southern Guinea. Deployment in close proximity to the ETU decreased the turnaround time to an average of 4 h instead of several days in many cases. Between March 2014 and May 2015, more than 5,800 samples were tested in this field laboratory. Further EMLab units were deployed to Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the following months of the Ebola outbreak. The technical concept of the EMLab units served as a blueprint for other mobile Ebola laboratories which have been set up in Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and other countries in West Africa. Here, we describe design, capabilities and utility of this deployable laboratory system for use in response to disease outbreaks, epidemiological surveillance and patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Ebola fever
  • Europe
  • Guinea
  • laboratory
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • outbreaks
  • Sierra Leone
  • viral haemorrhagic fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Mobile diagnostics in outbreak response, not only for Ebola: a blueprint for a modular and robust field laboratory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this