Health officials approve a rapid diagnosis test for the Ebola virus in a potential breakthrough in the fight against the epidemic.

Several companies have been trying to develop a rapid diagnosis test kit

Several companies have been trying to develop a 15-minute Ebola test kit

The World Health Organization has approved a rapid test for the Ebola virus which can deliver a diagnosis in just 15 minutes.

In what could be a breakthrough for bringing the epidemic in West Africa to an end, the test kits will be deployed to countries affected by Ebola within a matter of weeks.

Although less accurate than traditional tests, which can take anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, this kit does not require electricity – making it ideal for examining patients in remote areas.

During rigorous trials conducted by the WHO, the ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test correctly identified 92% of those infected with Ebola, and 85% who were free of the virus.

The health agency has said this new testing kit should be followed up with a laboratory test wherever possible.

Meanwhile, the UN’s Mission for Ebola Emergency Response has praised Liberia’s progress in slowing down the spread of the virus – but warned against complacency as the number of new patients continues to fall.

Ebola has killed more than 3,800 people in Liberia since December 2013 – but now, students are returning to their schools after they were closed for six months.

In Sierra Leone, an investigation is under way into how money meant to fight Ebola was used. Out of $5.75m (£3.75m) received in funding, a third was spent without invoices and receipts being saved.