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08.09.2010, 00:19
New molecular test can diagnose tuberculosis in less than two hours

A new, automated molecular test for tuberculosis enables relatively unskilled healthcare workers in resource poor settings to diagnose the disease and accurately detect drug resistant strains in most cases in less than two hours, a research study shows.


The Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic test uses an automated molecular probe for Mycobacterium tuberculosis and a real time polymerase chain reaction that greatly increases the amount of genes conferring drug resistance, thus improving detection. It was developed in a public-private partnership by the non-profit Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, which is based in Geneva; Cepheid, a commercial diagnostics company; and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Support came from grants from the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

BMJ 2010; 341