(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved an Ebola test that could cut the time it takes to detect Ebola in a patient in half. This new lab test can be completed within three hours.
The FDA approved the test, Roche's LightMix Ebola Zaire rRT-PCR Test, for emergency use on patients showing symptoms of Ebola.
The test is to be used in the fight against what is now the largest Ebola outbreak in history in West Africa.
The LightMix test hasn't been approved for general use. When the FDA approves something for emergency use, that means it can be used in certain lab facilities for a specified time period.
The test that is currently used to detect Ebola in patients who might have been exposed takes about six hours to produce results, reports Fortune. This new test should be able to detect Ebola in patients in just over three hours. This could enable health care workers to start treating Ebola patients sooner.
This test is only approved for use in patients who are showing signs and symptoms of Ebola. Symptoms include high fever, nausea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding.
People who have Ebola are only contagious when they are showing symptoms. Even then, the Ebola virus, which can cause Ebola virus disease, can only be transferred through infected blood or other bodily fluids.
To date, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 7,500 lives and infected nearly 20,000 people, reports Reuters.