According to the latest study, scientists developed a new tuberculosis blood test which will improve diagnosis and treatment methods. It is believed the new technique is able to distinguish the active form of the TB virus from its inactive form. Tuberculosis is known as an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria.
Generally, this disease affects the lungs, but it can also cause problems for the other parts of the body too. Most of the time, the infections cause latent tuberculosis as they don’t show any symptoms. However, latent tuberculosis eventually grows in the active disease which can cause the death of those infected. According to statistics, tuberculosis afflicts 240 million individuals all over the world.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked for scientists’ help to find a better diagnostic test for active tuberculosis. At the moment, a team of researchers at the Stanford University designed a test which can restructure the process of diagnosing active tuberculosis. They claimed they validated the test via 1, 400 blood samples taken from patients.
The blood test is said to identify a gene expression mark to point out active TB. This way, doctors will no longer have to gather sputum samples from those infected. The test has 86 percent chances to find tuberculosis in children. If the test comes up negative, it’s right 99 percent of the time.
In addition, rural and underdeveloped regions of the world can benefit immensely from this test. Moreover, it can point out active TB infections in individuals with HIV too. Researchers claim the new tuberculosis blood test doesn’t indicate false positive results for those with latent tuberculosis. Also, the test is said to provide exact results for patients who had a TB vaccine.
In addition, researchers explained the new test will also help doctors to monitor their patients. They will have the chance to see whether the patients are getting better or not. Also, doctors will find out how well their patients respond to the various tuberculosis treatments.
Physicians explained the classic method to find out whether a person has the disease is by taking a sputum test. They also stated it is difficult to perform the test on demand. For instance, while a patient cannot produce enough sputum, a child cannot be persuaded to follow instructions. Additionally, those who are close to full recovery can no longer produce sputum.
Researchers said this test is extremely important, especially for remote areas. Tim Sweeney, co-author of the study, said:
‘Any hospital should be able to perform the test. Villages without electricity could likely use ordinary blood samples and a solar-powered PCR machine, which multiplies strands of DNA, to accurately test people for active TB.”
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