How Is TB
Detected At Present?
Sputum, or as it is also known phlegm, is a mucus coughed up from the lungs when diseased. At present the most commonly used test for TB involves collecting a sputum sample, smearing it on a glass slide and examining it in the microscope to look for the TB bacteria. In order to see the bacteria special coloured stains are applied. However, the staining method used was developed over 100 years ago, has many steps and can miss up to 80% of cases.
Alternative methods look for specific genes/DNA associated with TB. Some of these approaches can also identify drug-resistant TB. However, while the methods are more sensitive than sputum tests they are also much more expensive.
The methods require centralised laboratory facilities and highly trained staff. Being able to detect in clinic would offer more rapid results and drug-resistance information will guide appropriate treatment.
ARREST-TB plans to deliver low-cost, portable and easy-to-use tests for TB presence and drug-resistance.
What Is The Motivation For Arrest-TB?
TB is the most lethal infectious disease and it is difficult to detect. TB is primarily a lung disease caused by a specific bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) with symptoms like chest pain, a bad cough, fatigue and fever among others.
What Is Antibiotic Resistance?
Bacteria develop strategies to prevent antibiotics from killing them. This is known as antibiotic resistance and is considered to be a major threat to human health as any simple infections and standard medical procedures will become potentially deadly again without the ability to use antibiotics.