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World TB Day Donation Campaign Increases Access to Improved TB Tests in Resource-Limited Settings
Date:3/21/2011

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of World TB Day, held each year on March 24, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX) has launched an online campaign designed to increase access to improved diagnostics that are crucial in the ongoing fight against tuberculosis (TB).

Beginning March 21, for each visitor to www.bd.com/fightTB, BD will donate one BD BACTEC™ MGIT™ tube to one of the Company's TB collaborating partners, FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) or the Earth Institute at Columbia University, up to 20,000 tubes.

"There is no TB cure without an accurate diagnosis – and that's the motivation for this campaign. Defeating TB begins with providing increased access to accurate, timely tests," said Vincent A. Forlenza, BD President and Chief Operating Officer.  "Methods for diagnosing TB in resource-limited settings have gone unchanged for more than 115 years.  BD is working closely with partners around the world, like FIND and the Earth Institute, to change that."

Each year, 9.4 million new cases of active TB and 1.7 million TB-related deaths are reported globally.  In the developing world, the burden of TB has been significantly aggravated in recent years by the alarming HIV/TB co-pandemic as well as the emergence of newer, drug-resistant strains of TB.  

Rapid and accurate diagnosis is widely recognized as a critical first step in the fight against TB.  Two technologies that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently endorsed are liquid culture and molecular diagnostics.  Together, as part of a comprehensive TB control plan, these two complementary technologies offer exciting new possibilities for diagnosing TB.

About Liquid Culture

The BD BACTEC MGIT System utilizes liquid culture technology.  In 2007, the WHO endorsed liquid culture technology as the standard of care for TB diagnosis and patient management.

Laboratory diagnosis of TB largely relies on the direct microscopic examination of sputum specimens. However, the technique has low and variable sensitivity and cannot identify drug-resistant strains. Mycobacterial culture is more sensitive, but growth of TB bacilli on traditional solid media typically requires two to four weeks, and as many as eight weeks, of incubation. This consequently delays appropriate treatment in the absence of a confirmed diagnosis.

Liquid culture systems reduce delays in obtaining results by one to two weeks over solid media.  For drug susceptibility testing, the interval may be reduced to as little as 10 days, compared with 28 to 42 days with conventional solid media. Liquid systems are more sensitive for detection of mycobacteria and may increase the case yield by 10 percent over solid media.  With increased sensitivity and reduced delays, liquid systems may contribute significantly to improved patient management.

Expanding culture capacity is urgently needed to address challenges due to the epidemics of HIV-associated TB and drug-resistant TB, especially in resource-limited settings.

About BD's TB Collaborating Partners

The Earth Institute's Millennium Villages project offers a unique, holistic, innovative model for empowering rural communities to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. With the help of new advances in science and technology, local staff members work with villages to create and implement low cost, sustainable, community-led action plans that are tailored to the villages' specific needs and designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

FIND is dedicated solely to developing affordable, easy-to-use and cutting edge diagnostic tests that save lives in the poorest areas of the world. From the initial idea and discovery stage to putting new tests into practice, the organization works with multiple and diverse groups, from academia, industry, donors, partners in the field, Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization. With five new diagnostic tools for TB already in use, FIND also has programs in malaria and sleeping sickness. Launched in 2003, the not-for-profit Foundation, with an established ISO-certified project management framework, has headquarters in Geneva and offices in Kampala, Uganda, and New Delhi, India. FIND is financed by both the private and public sectors. Donors currently include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Government of the Netherlands, the European Union, UNITAID, UK Department for International Development, National Institutes of Health (USA) and others.

About BD

BD is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The Company is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 29,000 associates in more than 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public. For more information, please visit www.bd.com.

Contact:
Alyssa Zeff
Public Relations
(201) 847-4358
Alyssa_Zeff@bd.com


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