SeeTB – A New TB Diagnosing Tool

In News

SeeTB is a new device to diagnose Tuberculosis. It is developed by a research team from Jamia Hamdard University in New Delhi.

In-Detail

  • India is the leading country in tuberculosis deaths. It is a great burden on our healthcare system.
  • While the World Health Organisation aimed to eliminate TB by 2035, India wanted to do this by 2025.
  • In order to achieve the target, diagnosing the disease is the key.
  • The research team led by Dr. Sayed E. Hasnain has thus developed this small device.
  • SeeTB can be attracted to a simple optical microscope to convert it into a fluorescence microscope. This enables proper TB diagnosis at the point-of-care.
  • The device is battery operated and can quickly identify the bacteria.
  • To aid in quicker detection, the team also developed a clearing reagent called CLR that thins the sputum and enhances bacteria detection.
  • Currently, using a fluorescence microscope requires infrastructure, an air-conditioned room, trained professionals and is possible only in tertiary health care centres.
  • With the new device, a simple microscope can be converted into a fluorescence microscope.
  • This is a cost-effective alternative for a country like India.
  • And the device can be used in the Primary Health Centres at the village level and diagnosis of the disease.
  • Once detected, treatment can be started immediately.

Performance

  • The researches tested the device on more than 300 suspected pulmonary TB patients and it showed higher sensitivity than the fluorescence microscope.
  • While the fluorescence microscopy showed 63.38% sensitivity, SeeTB showed 76.05% sensitivity.
  • Also, the new device when tested against GeneXpert, diagnosis tool that looks for DNA markers of TB bacteria, the new device showed improved sensitivity.
  • While GeneXpert took two hours to find the bacteria, SeeTB took only 30 mins.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is planning to validate the CLR-SeeTB on a large-scale in its primary health research units across India.

Conclusion

The device looks promising to scale up a faster diagnosis of TB and start treatment. This will help achieve the bold target which India has set.

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