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 David Alland, M.D. who collaborated closely with Cepheid and FIND with support from the NIAID. "We're gratified to find that it requires less hands-on work than the acid fast smear, long a standard method to identify tuberculosis, but it is much more sensitive."
Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD), based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a molecular diagnostics company that develops, manufactures, and markets fully-integrated systems for genetic analysis in the clinical, industrial and biothreat markets. The company's systems enable rapid, sophisticated gen
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