A new molecular test can diagnose tuberculosis faster than the currently available tests. Even the drug-resistant types can be easily diagnosed, according to Geneva-based scientists.
In a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), according to Reuters, researchers revealed that the Xpert MTB/RIF test used on 1,730 patients with suspected TB and suspected drug-resistant TB; the test successfully identified 98 percent of cases in less than two hours.
Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases described the test findings as impressive in terms of speed, accuracy and sensitivity.
There has been hardly any breakthrough in this field in the last 125 years and doctors across the world still rely on those microscopic tests in labs with trained experts and can take weeks. Tests for drug-resistant TB can even take months.
Geneva-based non-profit organization the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) worked on the study.
TB patients are more rampantly found in poor and developing regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, India and China. Even poor regions of developed nations have been found to have TB. It is among the world's top 10 leading causes of death and killed 1.8 million people worldwide in 2008, or one person every 20 seconds.