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Burnet's new approach to point-of-care TB diagnostic

Burnet Institute

14 June, 2013

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Hepatitis E diagnostic in the field. Photo courtesy Dr Greg Armstrong, CDC, Atlanta

Tuberculosis (TB) experts from Australia and the Asia and Pacific region were updated on Burnet’s progress in developing a point-of-care test for the debilitating disease that globally kills 5000 people each day.

Associate Professor David Anderson, Deputy Director of the Burnet Institute and Head of the Diagnostics Development Laboratory, presented his latest research at the Advances in TB: Australian and Regional Perspective Symposium in Melbourne.

He said serological tests (antibody and/or antigen detection) are well suited to point-of-care use and resource-poor settings for diagnosis of many infectious diseases.

“But past serological tests for TB have proven ineffective and the World Health Organization has recommended against their use with some countries banning them all together,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

“We believe that antibody-based tests are so readily amenable to the development of field-based tests, like our CD4 and hepatitis E tests, that it is worth taking a new approach.”

Associate Professor Anderson and his team have developed a novel method to detect dimeric IgA (an antibody) in blood samples and said the studies so far are very encouraging.

“By continuing to exploit our skills and novel methods with the great TB resources that are now available to the research community through the efforts of FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the NIH/BEI Resources for biological reagents, we will be able to develop lab-based tests for extensive clinical evaluation over the next couple of years.

“If this project is successful, it could have a big impact because we are developing a relatively simple biomarker that could form the basis of an inexpensive test, suitable for low resourced countries.”

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Associate Professor David Anderson

Deputy Director (Partnerships), Burnet Institute; Co-Head, Global Health Diagnostics Development

Telephone

+61392822239

Email

david.anderson@burnet.edu.au

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