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New Test For Tuberculosis Could Improve Speed And Accuracy of Diagnosis

Update Date: Jul 04, 2014 09:03 AM EDT

Researchers have devised a new test for tuberculosis (TB) that is aimed at improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosis for one of the world's deadliest diseases. 

When implemented, the newly devised test would enable health care providers to report results to patients within minutes. 

Researchers identified a new chemical compound to spot the bacteria that cause TB with a level of sensitivity that currently takes months to produce. In the clinical trials, it was seen that the test can determine that a patient has tuberculosis with 86 percent sensitivity and 73 percent specificity. 

"It's simple. Take a sputum sample, treat it with the solution and put it inside the reader," said Jeffrey Cirillo, Ph.D., professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in the press release. "A camera inside looks for a reaction between the sample and solution that produces light. No light, no infection."

"Interrupting disease transmission will require early and accurate detection paired with appropriate treatment," Cirillo added. "Our new, rapid point-of-care TB test dramatically reduces the current delays in diagnosis with incredible accuracy, accelerating appropriate treatment and reducing the death rate of the highly infectious disease. We're looking at a low-cost, easy-to-use test that has the potential to eradicate TB."

The test presently is in the later stages of clinical trials and will hit the shelves in the next 18 months. 

The study has been published this week in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

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