News / Health

New, Rapid Tuberculosis Test Revolutionizes Care

Multimedia

Audio
Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization is endorsing a new, rapid test for tuberculosis that it says could revolutionize TB care with an accurate diagnosis in about 100 minutes. The current tests can take up to three months to show results.

The World Health Organization calls this new test a major milestone for global TB diagnosis and care. WHO's Stop TB Department Director Mario Raviglione says the test represents new hope for the millions of people who are at the highest risk of TB and multi-drug resistant TB.

"This is a development in a way that the world has been waiting for, for decades," Raviglione said. "As a matter of fact it is probably the most revolutionary thing we have seen in our lifetime in TB control. Certainly in the past 20 to 30 years there is nothing like that."  

This so-called "while-you-wait" test incorporates modern DNA technology. The sputum of the patient is put in a cartridge, which is placed inside an instrument that looks like a boxy coffee machine.

The co-developer of the test, the Foundation for Innovative and New Diagnostics says the test is fully automated, so it is easy and safe to use. It says the test does not need to be done by specially trained laboratory technicians nor does have to be sent to a laboratory to be diagnosed.

The Foundation for Innovative and New Diagnostics says the machine and cartridge in developing countries costs about $17,000. One test costs under $17.00. This, it says is a 75-percent reduction in the price for countries most affected by TB, compared to the current market price.

The World Health Organization says for the first time, the test will be introduced in developing countries and rich countries at the same time. WHO Stop TB Department Diagnostic Coordinator Karin Weyer says some countries in Africa already have started using the test.

"What we have seen, for example, in countries like South Africa that have started using the test was that patients who normally would have to wait three, four months for the conventional test results to return before they start treatment, were able to start treatment within two days," said Weyer. "And, in a high-HIV setting like South Africa this obviously also has the benefit of preventing early mortality in those patients because they are able to access appropriate treatment as quickly as possible."  

Dr. Weyer says the plan is to scale this up in other countries in Africa, such as Lesotho, Ethiopia, Swaziland, and Uganda. She says eventually the machine will be distributed to 27 high-TB countries throughout the world.

Major improvements in tuberculosis care and control have been made. Nevertheless, WHO reports TB killed an estimated 1.7-million people in 2009 and 9.4-million people developed active TB last year.

WHO says TB is a curable disease if the patient begins treatment early. It says the new, rapid TB test is a major breakthrough, one that might eliminate TB as a political and public health problem in the future.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More