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Immediate treatment for drug resistant tuberculosis possible with “while you wait” test

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 09 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7132
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. 1London

An instrument developed in the US after the country’s anthrax contaminated letters scare of 2001 has now been endorsed by the World Health Organization as a more effective means of testing for tuberculosis.

Manufactured by the Californian company Cepheid, the Xpert MTB/RIF uses a disposable cartridge containing all the reagents required to perform the test. Results are available in about 90 minutes.

Sputum smear microscopy, the method commonly used for detecting tuberculosis, was developed 125 years ago. It misses many cases, especially in children and people who are HIV positive. The diagnosis of drug resistant …

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