Last updated on April 26, 2015
A 15-minute Ebola test has been approved by World Health Organization (WHO).
It’s the first rapid test of its kind, dramatically reducing the time it takes to determine, with reasonable accuracy, if someone is infected.
The new test is being considered a potential breakthrough for ending a pandemic.
As of October last year, more than 9,900 people in West Africa died from the highly-infectious virus that eventually made its way to parts of North America and Europe.
Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesman, said the new test, which has been developed by Corgenix Medical Corp, is considered less accurate than the standard PCR test, but does not require electricity, is easy to perform and can provide results in 15 minutes.
In trials, the 15-minute test correctly identified 92 percent of Ebola infected patients and 85 percent of non-infected patients.
Currently, Ebola testing can only be done in specialized laboratories and takes about two-and-a-half hours each to process.
WHO explained that the new rapid test, which is similar to a pregnancy test, works by determining an Ebola protein. The ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test Kit has been designed to be used in the field and requires only a drop of a patient’s blood, urine or plasma to work.
The FDA says test kits are not yet ready for disbursement as the company is still ironing out costs.