Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A faster, cheaper way to diagnose tuberculosis

Date:
August 19, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a faster, cheaper method for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). A major barrier in TB prevention, especially in developing countries, is that diagnosis is slow and costly. Researchers have developed a method which could potentially decrease the time taken to make a diagnosis. Their method is also cheaper than the current fastest methods.

Researchers have discovered a faster, cheaper method for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). A major barrier in TB prevention, especially in developing countries, is that diagnosis is slow and costly. Dr Olivier Braissant and his colleagues have developed a method which could potentially decrease the time taken to make a diagnosis. Their method is also cheaper than the current fastest methods.

The research has been published in the Society for Applied Microbiology's Journal of Applied Microbiology.

The bacterium which causes TB is called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and diagnosis of this disease is often done by growing and examining the bacteria in a laboratory. This process is slow and can take up to 57 days. Faster methods have been developed, but these tend to be very expensive and are, therefore often unavailable in developing countries. Dr Braissant and his colleagues used a microcalorimeter to detect the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This method proved to be faster than growing the bacteria in the lab and as fast as other more expensive methods (between 5.5 and 12.5 days).

Microcalorimeters, like the one used in this research, measure the heat given off during a chemical, physical or biological process, in this case when the bacteria grow. They convert this tiny temperature rise into an electrical signal which can be amplified and recorded by a computer. This then produces a graphical footprint which is unique to each species of bacteria.

As multiple samples from the same person can be tested at the same time using the microcalorimeter it is also possible to test drug susceptibilities of the bacteria. This is done by measuring the growth of different samples in the presence of different antibiotics: if no growth is detected with one antibiotic, this drug can be used to fight the infection. With the growing resistance of TB to antimicrobials, this is essential.

A further important feature of this method is that it uses readily available, cheap materials. Other fast TB detection methods often use consumables such as fluorescent or radioactive probes, meaning that every individual test comes at a significant cost. This is on top of the initial cost of the equipment, which can be around $39,000 (US). Whilst relatively inexpensive microcalorimeters are commercially available, a recent study estimated that a simple calorimeter can be built for around $1000 (US).

Dr Braissant and his team have shown this new method works in a laboratory setting, but this is not necessarily representative of the way it would work in outside world. So the next step is to test their method outside the lab.

"Microcalorimeters have already been shipped to Tanzania and we hope to start a first validation of our approach in the field before the end of the year" Dr Braissant explained.

One third of the world's population are infected with TB and in 2009 there were 1.7 million deaths from the disease. The highest number of these deaths was in Africa. TB is spread through the air via sneezing, coughing and spitting and it is estimated that every untreated person infects between 10 and 15 people per year. Prompt and affordable diagnosis is therefore essential. This new technique could potentially provide a method for the rapid diagnosis of TB and due to the relatively low cost, it could be used worldwide

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Rodrνguez, A.U. Daniels, J.L. Urrusti, D. Wirz, O. Braissant. Evaluation of a Low-Cost Calorimetric Approach for Rapid Detection of Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacteria in Culture. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2011.05117.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "A faster, cheaper way to diagnose tuberculosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110817022132.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, August 19). A faster, cheaper way to diagnose tuberculosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110817022132.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "A faster, cheaper way to diagnose tuberculosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110817022132.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) — Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
 
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins