How Will Arrest-TB
Use Smartphone Detection For Rapid In Clinic TB Detection?
Two different sputum tests will be developed for use with an app for more rapid and accurate testing:
1. New chemistry for brighter staining of the TB bacteria combined with a simple portable detection device that doesn’t require a microscope
The project will test three different chemical mixtures for sensitive detection. Enhanced signal/brightness will be achieved due to the interaction between different dyes. The best approach will:
- Offer stable long shelf-life chemicals which don’t require storage in a fridge
- Highly specific staining of the TB bacteria as opposed to other bacteria
- Single bacteria level sensitivity
Additionally, as microscopes and trained microscopy technicians are expensive and not available in all clinical settings, ARREST-TB will develop a portable read-out device giving a rapid yes/no answer. The system will incorporate micro-LEDs and produced by 3D printing at cost of less than €20.
2. DNA based sputum testing, powered by a smartphone, with data analysed by an app
Using DNA for testing can be challenging. First we have to remove the DNA from the bacteria. ARREST-TB will develop an inexpensive easy to use DNA extraction device powered by a smartphone. The next stage is the detection of the DNA. Existing tests are very expensive. ARREST-TB will use technology developed by one of the commercial partners in the project, DestiNA . The cheap and simple detection approach takes place in one tube with presence of TB causing a colour change that can be read-out by a mobile phone.
ARREST-TB plans to deliver low-cost, portable and easy-to-use tests for TB presence and drug-resistance.
What Is The Current Status Of The Project?
The project started in January 2019 and the team are working together on all three challenges.
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 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.
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.