New Method Early TB Diagnosis: On the Works

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Many individuals especially in the community are suffering from the disease medically known as tuberculosis (TB). This is probably because of major health risk present in the environment such as smoking, unhealthy lifestyle, and environmental conditions. Up to now, many individuals who are residing in different communities are still left undiagnosed for having the disease, and thus infecting many other individuals. Medical health care professionals are going into the community to do massive diagnosis, however, the time needed to confirm the diagnosis is quite long enough.

One good thing today is that Indian researchers were on the edge of discovering a more rapid way of diagnosing tuberculosis. This new way of rapid diagnosis can actually help individuals affected by the disease through prompt medical intervention which can be given right after the diagnosis. This new method is through the use of an “electronic nose” which will sniff out tuberculosis present on breath.

This electronic nose or “E-nose” is a portable device that is run by a battery. The concept of E-nose is almost the same with the device use by the policemen to detect presence of alcohol in the breath of individuals who are suspected to take alcohol while driving. This device works by putting the device in front of the nose of the patient allowing him to blow into the device. Then, the sensor present in the device will be able to detect certain TB biomarkers in the droplets of breath of the person being tested, if the device was able to detect the said TB markers, then the person or individual is said to be positive for tuberculosis.

This new device is a very efficient and highly accurate way of diagnosing TB according to the researchers. Also, the researchers are preparing for the prototype for clinical testing of the device which will be done on October 2013. The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi and Next Dimension Technologies in California are the groups who collaborated for the development of the new device –“E-nose.”

According to the WHO, Overall, one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with the TB bacillus. 5-10% of people who are infected with TB bacilli (but who are not infected with HIV) become sick or infectious at some time during their life. People with HIV and TB infection are much more likely to develop TB.

Also, WHO estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2008 occurred in the South-East Asia Region, which accounted for 35% of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of the South-East Asia Region with over 350 cases per 100 000 population. An estimated 1.7 million people died from TB in 2009. The highest number of deaths was in the Africa Region.

Moreover, tuberculosis is a curable disease, but it involves long term treatment usually about 6 months of treatment using multidrug therapy in order to kill the bacteria causing tuberculosis and make the person TB free. The development of this new device will pave the way for a more rapid and accurate diagnosis of TB and saving more lives!




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