The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first rapid test for Ebola in a potential breakthrough for ending an epidemic that has killed almost 10,000 people in West Africa.
The test, developed by US firm Corgenix Medical Corp, is less accurate than the standard test but is easy to perform, does not require electricity, and can give results within 15 minutes, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.
The standard laboratory test has a turnaround time of 12-24 hours. While the Corgenix test is not fail-safe, it could quickly identify patients who need quarantine and make it much easier to verify rapidly any new outbreaks.
Procurement and roll-out of the test kits will not begin immediately because the company is still working out costing and needs a week or two more to finish administrative procedures with the US Food and Drug Administration, Jasarevic said.