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TB Urine Test Developed By Indian Researchers Offers Quicker, Less Invasive Diagnosis

“The Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and the Lala Ram Sarup Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, collaborated with the National University of Singapore to develop” a urine test that “offers a less invasive diagnostic method for” tuberculosis (TB), SciDev reports. “Drug-resistant cases need an expensive, sophisticated test that takes two weeks of culturing blood samples to detect the bacterium,” but developing countries, which “account for 95 percent of new infections and 98 percent of deaths … prefer a simple test requiring minimum resources and trained personnel, and one that gives quick and easily interpreted results, the Delhi scientists observed,” according to the news agency (Padma, 8/23).

Madhukar Pai, an epidemiologist and TB researcher based at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who also serves as co-chair of the Stop TB Partnership’s New Diagnostics Working Group and a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told Nature in an interview that “there is an urgent need for a simple, cheap and rapid test for TB, like we have for malaria and HIV.” Pai spoke about “how he thinks emerging economies, such as India, can help to combat the TB epidemic with improved diagnostics,” according to Nature (Zorlu, 8/23).