US authorities have given emergency authorisation to Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche for an Ebola test that can take as little as three hours, the company said on Monday.
The US Food and Drug Administration authorised the test for emergency use on patients with signs and symptoms of the deadly virus, Roche said.
"The LightMix Ebola Zaire test is an easy-to-use molecular diagnostic test providing a solution for healthcare professionals to quickly detect the virus and start patient treatment as early as possible," said Roland Diggelmann, chief operations officer of Roche's diagnostics division.
The test, manufactured by German company TIB MOLBIOL GmbH, has also been given the European CE mark indicating it conforms with EU regulations.
Mobile laboratories in the three west African nations hard hit by Ebola -- Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia -- currently use expensive and time-consuming tests that can take up to six hours.
Ebola has killed more than 7,500 people over the past year, almost all of them in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.