15 Sep 2010

Scientists develop quick test for TB

3:49 pm on 15 September 2010

Scientists in Britain say they have devised a new test to diagnose the tuberculosis bacterium that is ultra-sensitive and ultra-fast.

The scientists say their new test can diagnose all strains of TB within an hour.

It is estimated that the bacterium which causes tuberculosis lives inside a third of people on the planet, but spotting those who carry it is tricky, the BBC reports.

It can take up to eight weeks, by which time the individual might have spread the disease to other people, or even to other continents.

A new test might dramatically quicken that process. It works by spotting a genetic signature which researchers believe is common to all strains of the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2008, an estimated 1.3 million people died from TB worldwide.

Recent years have seen a resurgence in infections in developed countries, and have seen the rise of strains resistant to medication.