Cepheid Announces New Diagnostic Technology to Aid World Efforts in Halting the Spread of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (TB)
The new test technology, developed in partnership with Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and the
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately two billion people are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Each year approximately nine million people develop active TB and two million people lose their lives to the illness. This equates to one life every 20 seconds.
“One of FIND’s main goals is to help to save the millions of lives that are needlessly lost to TB every year,” says
Rapid diagnosis of TB is vital in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and
“The need for accurate and rapid detection of tuberculosis is becoming increasingly acute with the development of drug resistant strains and the growing at-risk populations in the developing world,” said
Xpert MTB/RIF not only detects the presence of TB, but also identifies whether it is resistant to Rifampicin, a common first-line drug for treatment of the disease and a reliable surrogate marker of strains that are multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB). The test is expected to enable physicians to dramatically improve patient outcomes — possible only with on-demand, actionable results to guide therapy decisions within the timeframe of an initial patient visit.
“Multidrug-resistant TB is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the world, making TB harder to treat with the usual treatment regimen that includes Rifampicin,” said
Currently, the most common testing method for TB is the sputum microscopy, or smear test, that has remained largely unchanged in its sophistication and sensitivity for over 100 years. The smear test has been proven to only detect around half of all active TB cases and is not capable of identifying drug resistance. Patients who remain undetected are often co-mingled within general hospital populations, placing others at risk of infection. Due to their low accuracy, smear tests are followed up with culture tests, which offer more accurate results but take several weeks. To determine drug resistance, culture testing can take months to return a result. For patients in the developing world, lengthy turnaround times of current test methods can lead to catastrophic consequences as the chain of transmission grows.
“We designed this test so that it could be used by someone with minimal training,” said UMDNJ’s
Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD), based in
FIND, based in
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