The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday approved a test that can diagnose the human strain of avian flu in less than 40 minutes.
The test detects the A/H5N1 virus in the throat, nostrils and saliva of patients that show symptoms of the disease.
"The clearance of this test represents a major step toward protecting the public from the threat of pandemic flu," said Daniel Schultz,of the FDA?s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
The device processes swabs to detect the NS1 protein that points to the presence of A/H5N1.
Previous tests approved by the FDA produced results in three or four hours.
The World Health Organization said there have been 412 confirmed cases of the infection in humans, largely in Asia and North Africa.
None have so far been detected in the Americas.
The new test, dubbed "AVantage A/H5N1 Flu Test" is made by Arbor Vita Corp. a California-based firm.