Test could ease diagnosis of tuberculosis in children

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A new genetic test for tuberculosis (TB) could dramatically improve the accuracy of diagnoses of infected children in developing countries, although a simple diagnostic kit could be some way off.

The research, published last month (1 May) in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined the DNA of more than 2,800 children admitted to hospitals in Kenya, Malawi and South Africa with TB symptoms. It identified specific gene sequences that appear more frequently during a TB infection — providing scientists with a genetic signature for the disease.

Although the technology currently needed to detect this signature is too advanced for use in most resource poor settings, the researchers say it should be possible to develop a diagnostic test that can be used in such places.

The WHO estimates 530,000 children were infected by TB in 2012, the majority in developing countries.

Source: SciDev.Net (link opens in a new window)

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