A point-of-care rapid diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) has been developed by a multinational team of scientists led by researchers at Stellenbosch University.
“This low-cost screening test has the potential to significantly speed up TB diagnosis in resource-limited setting,” says co-inventor, Prof Gerhard Walzl of Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The test is conducted on blood obtained from a finger-prick and can make a TB diagnosis in less than an hour.
“Health care workers with minimal training will be able use the test at grass-roots level and get immediate access to screening test results,” says Walzl. The diagnostic test is a hand-held, battery-operated instrument that will measure chemicals in the blood of people with possible TB.
The device is currently in developmental phase and its accuracy and efficacy will be tested in five African countries over the next three years by the ScreenTB consortium, a team of TB experts from eight African and European partnering institutions.