The state-funded Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has awarded $1 million to help speed up the development of a tool for quickly diagnosing Ebola. The group hopes to have the devices ready for testing in six months.

In announcing the grant, Gov. Deval Patrick said as a leader in life sciences, the state has a unique opportunity to address the Ebola epidemic.

"Through this investment and the work of the consortium, Massachusetts will play a central role in developing technologies that can control the spread of this terrible disease, and save many lives as result, in Africa and around the world," Patrick said.

The consortium developing the device is led by a nonprofit called Diagnostics For All.

“The current Ebola crisis highlights the need for a low cost medical diagnostic device that we've been developing for the last number of years, that is ultrasensitive, requiring no expensive instruments, no laboratory trained staff to operate," said Marcus Lovell Smith, organization’s CEO.

Lovell Smith says the devices will use a molecular test, with the ability to find the virus itself, rather than antibodies of the virus, which is less accurate. He says it would be disposable after one use, and should cost less than $10 a test.

Dr. Richard Sacra of UMass Medical School was cured of Ebola after working in Liberia. Sacra says as the disease spreads to more remote areas, it’s even harder to get blood samples to a lab for the current kind of testing.

“They can drive a whole day and maybe wait two or three days or even longer," Sacra said. "And they have to have a vehicle that works, and the roads have to be clear. So to have this kind of technology available, where you could do on-site, point-of-care testing would be a huge benefit.”

The consortium plans to raise millions more to develop and test the device, as they try to get it ready in the next six months.