New rapid test reliably detects tuberculosis

New rapid test reliably detects tuberculosis

Xpert MTB / RIF ”recognizes illness quickly and precisely
A newly developed test can apparently quickly and reliably detect the dangerous lung disease tuberculosis, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), infected 8.6 million people worldwide last year alone. This is the result of a South African study that is currently published in the British specialist magazine "The Lancet". However, rapid detection could not have a positive effect on the course of the disease.

Test enables faster treatment A new test is apparently able to quickly and precisely identify the worldwide bacterial infectious disease tuberculosis (TB). A team of South African scientists led by Keertan Dheda from the University of Cape Town has now come to this conclusion. This is the rapid test developed by the California company "Cepheid" called "Xpert MTB / RIF", which is based on an automated "real-time polymerase chain reaction" (real-time PCR) and detects tuberculosis pathogens within two hours can. According to the researchers, the big advantage was above all in terms of handling, because “Xpert MTB / RIF can also be administered by a nurse in a general outpatient clinic, which means that more patients start treatment on the same day, more patients with treated with a positive bacterial culture and overall less time passes until treatment, ”says the scientists in the specialist journal“ The Lancet ”.

83% of tuberculosis cases correctly diagnosed The researchers had examined a total of 1502 patients with clinical suspicion of tuberculosis in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania for their study: In 758 subjects, a conventional microscopic analysis of the bronchial secretion was used to detect the disease ( Sputum examination), in the other group (N = 744), however, the new test device was used. The result: The new device was more sensitive than microscopy and correctly diagnosed tuberculosis in 83 percent of the cases - in contrast to conventional microscopic examination, it was only half, as the researchers write.

However, the course of the disease cannot be positively influenced Two and six months after the tests, the next examinations were carried out. It was finally shown that despite the fast and reliable diagnosis by the Xpert MTB / RIF, there were no differences between the two patient groups in the further course of the disease - neither with regard to the severity of the course nor with regard to the death rate. Instead, according to the researchers, eight percent of the patients in both groups had died. According to the authors, "the possible long-term effect of this test is probably overestimated". According to Christian Wejse from the university in Aarhus, Denmark, it should also be considered whether the use of new, relatively expensive tests makes sense, especially in poorer countries, because "to provide expensive equipment in health centers where the power can fail or in which Staff poorly trained and paid could be a delicate matter, ”said Wejse in a commentary on the South African study. (Nr)

Image: Bernardo Peters-Velasquez /

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Video: ASSURE TB Rapid Test (October 2020).