Greenwich High's Google Science Fair winner appears on 'Colbert'

Photo of Paul Schott

While most of her peers returned from vacation to the grind of classes and homework, Greenwich High School junior Olivia Hallisey enjoyed a slightly more enviable Monday this week.

The 2015 Google Science Fair winner appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to discuss her award-winning Ebola test and show off her Lego trophy to the funnyman.

“I began looking at how can we limit the spread of Ebola because the problem I saw is how quickly it was spreading,” Hallisey told Colbert.

Hallisey’s research impressed the erstwhile Colbert Report host.

"I don’t know whether to be inspired or intimidated by you right now," Colbert said.

The Ebola test developed by Hallisey uses a four-channel card, in which substances known as reagents would react with a patient’s Ebola antigens. A silk film would keep the reagents at room temperature, avoiding the need for refrigeration. The test could be done with a sample like saliva within 30 minutes, at a cost of $25, an economic option for health care providers in developing nations in West Africa, where the disease is epidemic.

Current Ebola tests requiring refrigeration can take up to 12 hours and cost about $1,000 each.

The new test can detect Ebola when patients still have not shown symptoms, a stage at which the disease is less likely to spread and the chances of recovery are greater.