WHO approves breakthrough 15-minute Ebola test

GENEVA, (Reuters) – The World Health Organization 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, it said yesterday.

The test, developed by U.S. 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.

“It’s a first rapid test. It’s definitely a breakthrough,” he said.

The standard laboratory test has a turnaround time of 12-24 hours. While the Corgenix test is not failsafe, 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 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Jasarevic said.

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