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[afro-nets] New TB test quickly determines drug resistance

  • From: "Claudio Schuftan" <claudio@hcmc.netnam.vn>
  • Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 09:27:22 +0700

New TB test quickly determines drug resistance


New TB test quickly determines drug resistance
Method only takes 7 days, old ones took weeks and months, study says

A new test for tuberculosis is faster and more accurate than the current diagnostic gold standard for the disease, an international team of researchers has reported.

- A new tuberculosis test is faster and less expensive than conventional TB tests and lets doctors know much sooner if someone with the infectious disease is resistant to standard drugs, a study showed Wednesday.

Typically it takes months for doctors in many countries to discover that a TB strain is resistant to a drug with conventional tests a drawback that is partly responsible for the 5,000 TB deaths that occur worldwide every day.

But a study conducted in Lima, Peru, and published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine shows that the risk of TB can be reduced, especially varieties unaffected by drugs now used as the first line of defense against the disease.

The new test, call MODS for microscopic-observation drug-susceptibility, "will change the practice of TB testing in developing countries" .

The test, which only requires rudimentary laboratory equipment and widely available chemicals, usually made a diagnosis in just seven days, compared with 13 days for one conventional test and 26 days for another.

The accuracy rate was 98 percent, at least 8 percentage points above the other tests.

Lower price. While the two conventional tests cost $6 and $52 per sample, the new test costs about $2, plus the price of paying laboratory works to process the liquid coughed up by patients and to look for tell-tale knots of bacteria under a simple light microscope.

Claudio Schuftan