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.
Other nearby universities are the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape.
Stellenbosch University (abbreviated as US) designed and manufactured Africa’s first microsatellite, SUNSAT, launched in 1999.
Stellenbosch University was the first African university to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.
The students of Stellenbosch University are nicknamed “Maties”. The term probably arises from the Afrikaans colloquialism maat (meaning “buddy” or “mate”) originally used diminutively by the students of the University of Cape Town’s precursor, the South African College.
Needs to be changed only once a week
South African pharmaceutical company, Cipla Medpro, in conjunction with the Microbiology Department at the University of Stellenbosch, has announced the development of what is being touted as a breakthrough in wound dressing.
The team behind the Wound Dressing Project recently received a prestigious NSTF-BHP Billiton Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Contribution to SETI through Research leading to Innovation. Team leader, Professor Leon Dicks – Department of Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch – describes the product as a nanofibre wound dressing with controlled release of antimicrobial peptides for patients with burn wounds.