New molecular test can diagnose tuberculosis in less than two hours

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 07 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4897
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    A new, automated molecular test for tuberculosis enables relatively unskilled healthcare workers in resource poor settings to diagnose the disease and accurately detect drug resistant strains in most cases in less than two hours, a research study shows.

    The New England Journal of Medicine study found that a single test correctly identified 98% of people who tested positive to currently used tests, being both smear test positive and culture positive (doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0907847). The new test gave a positive result in more than 70% of people with smear negative and culture positive disease, which commonly occurs in people coinfected with HIV. It also correctly identified resistance to rifampicin in 98% of patients.

    The results came from testing sputum of 1462 people with symptoms suggestive of tuberculosis who were recruited in five centres: Lima, Peru; Baku, Azerbaijan; Cape Town and Durban, South Africa; and …

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