News / Health

New, Rapid Tuberculosis Test Revolutionizes Care

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid