The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday approved the first rapid blood test for Ebola in an attempt to speed up diagnosis of the disease, which has so far killed over 9,000 people in West Africa.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that though the ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test, developed by American company Corgenix, is less accurate than the standard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, it can give results in a matter of minutes rather than hours, according to Reuters.
"While less accurate, the antigen test is rapid, easy to perform and does not require electricity,” WHO said in a statement, according to BBC. "It can therefore be used at lower health care facilities or in mobile units for patients in remote settings."
WHO also recommended that, wherever possible, the results should be verified using the conventional PCR test.
The current Ebola outbreak, which is the deadliest on record, has infected over 23,000 people and led to the deaths of over 9,000 people in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The new test would help quickly confirm outbreaks in remote areas without the need to send samples to clinics.
However, the test kits will not be immediately supplied as the company is still working out the costs of the entire procedure, Jasarevic reportedly said.