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Burnet researchers are developing a rapid point-of-care (RPOC) test that will diagnose tuberculosis (TB) with just a drop of blood.
The team, led by Head of Burnet’s Diagnostics Development Laboratory, Associate Professor David Anderson will work with collaborators in China on the test that will operate in a similar way to a pregnancy test.
The current test, which diagnoses TB, is the same test which was developed 100 years ago. It requires the patient to cough up a sputum sample, which is then examined under a microscope by a highly-trained technician and is only 50 per cent effective.
Associate Professor Anderson told a packed audience at the TB-HIV Networking Zone at AIDS 2014 there are many challenges for TB and HIV POC diagnostics, from bench to bedside.
“Unfortunately, the majority of the individuals living in rural and remote areas of the developing world have limited access to testing mainly due to logistics, training and equipment,” he said.
“There is a clear need for the development of simple, cheap and sophisticated tests that can be operated without expensive equipment, which are also able to be used in the field.”
Associate Professor Anderson’s team has developed a number of RPOC tests for use in the developing world including hepatitis E, hepatitis A and active syphilis tests and a POC test for HIV treatment initiation, the VISITECT® CD4.
“Like for HIV, there is an urgent need to break through barriers in TB biomarker research to develop a highly-sensitive point-of-care diagnostic to improve identification of active TB cases,” he said.
TB kills one in five people with HIV, making it the leading killer globally of people living with HIV.
CLICK HERE for more information about Burnet’s diagnostics development work.