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.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly infectious disease and a major global health problem, especially in countries with developing health care systems. Because there is no fast, easy way to detect TB, the deadly infection can spread quickly through communities.
Now, a team reports in ACS Sensors the development of a rapid, sensitive and low-cost method for detecting the disease in resource-limited areas.
In response to drug-resistant “superbugs” that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, “molecular drill bits” that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls.
They presented some of the latest developments on these drill bits, better known to scientists as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.
The meeting, which features more than 10,000 scientific reports across disciplines from energy to medicine, continues here through Thursday.
One of the researchers in the search for new ways to beat pathogenic bacteria is Georges Belfort, Ph.D. He and his team have been searching for a new therapy against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). It’s a well-known, treatable disease, but resistant strains are cropping up. The World Health Organization estimates that about 170,000 people died from multidrug-resistant TB in 2012.
“If the bacteria build resistance to all current treatments, you’re dead in the water,” said Belfort, who is at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
To avoid this dire scenario, scientists are developing creative ways to battle the disease. In ongoing research, Belfort’s group together with his wife, Marlene Belfort, and her group at the University at Albany are trying to dismantle bacteria from within. They also decided to attack it from the outside.