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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid