Arrest TB

Arrest TB plans to deliver low-cost, portable and easy-to-use tests for TB presence and drug-resistance.

University of Edinburgh, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh

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Accurate, Rapid, Robust & Economical DiagnoStic Technologies for TuBerculosis (ARREST-TB)

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How Will Arrest-TB Enable Treatment Monitoring?

How Will Arrest-TB
Enable Treatment Monitoring?

Early assessment of treatment response is difficult as patient symptoms often don’t give a clear indication. It is critical to check though whether the drugs given are effective especially with multi-drug resistant TB on the rise.

One solution is to take patient blood samples to measure levels of chemicals involved in the immune response. Certain types of microRNAs circulating in the blood, associated with the immune response to TB, have been identified to decrease after successful treatment. Hence tracking the level of these microRNAs allows us to assess the effectiveness of drugs in a particular patient.

Furthermore, the TB bacteria doesn’t always cause disease and it is estimated that a third of the world’s population have TB within their bodies.

Distinguishing between this case (latent TB) and diseased (active TB) at an early stage is challenging. Again microRNA levels can help monitor progression of the disease and allow us to identify, and treat, patients at an early stage.

ARREST-TB will take samples from both TB infected patients and healthy volunteers to study and select the best microRNAs to use.

Detecting microRNAs in blood samples is difficult and expensive at present as the RNA has to be extracted from the blood. ARREST-TB plans to develop a new system allowing for direct read-out of microRNA levels, down to the sensitivity of a single microRNA, in blood with no extraction needed.


ARREST-TB plans to deliver low-cost, portable and easy-to-use tests for TB presence and drug-resistance.

How Will Arrest-Tb Use Smartphone Detection For Rapid In Clinic TB Detection?

The project will test three different chemical mixtures for sensitive detection. Enhanced signal/brightness will be achieved due to the interaction between different dyes.

How Will Arrest-TB Detect Drug-Resistant TB?

Observing the bacteria down the microscope doesn’t tell us what type, or strain, of TB bacteria is present. However, certain genes/DNA segments can give us this information.

How Will Arrest-TB Check The Effectiveness Of The Developed Technology?

The technologies developed are going to be trialled in two national TB research institutes, one in Russia and one in India. Russia and India have been selected as these countries have a high TB burden. In India, the clinical partners in the project will also test the developed systems at a range of healthcare providers, including in rural and low-income areas.

What Is The Current Status Of The Project?

The project started in January 2019 and the team are working together on all three challenges.