ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY THE SUNDAILY - 23/3/2021
KUALA LUMPUR: A team of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has succeeded in creating two innovations – TB Strip and TB Reader – to screen and detect tuberculosis (TB) faster to facilitate early treatment of the disease.
It only takes the TB Reader about two hours to analyse a sputum sample and detect the presence of the TB-causing bacteria even if the bacterial content is very low. The TB Strip, meanwhile, needs a mere 10 to 15 minutes to detect the bacteria even though it is not as sensitive as the TB Reader.
TB is a contagious infection caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which usually attacks the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body.
The conventional diagnostic tools to detect TB require much more time to diagnose the disease. For example, the Mantoux test takes about 72 hours to determine if a person is infected with the TB bacteria while the culture test requires a minimum of four weeks.
Prof Dr Nor Azah Yusof, who heads the UPM research team, said the two innovations can not only be used to screen samples and detect the presence of TB more rapidly and comprehensively but are also practical, user-friendly and cost-effective.
“We view our innovations as adding value to the standard (TB) detection methods currently being used by hospitals and laboratories,” she told Bernama, adding that the TB Reader and TB Strip are only meant for screening purposes before a more detailed examination is carried out in the hospital.
Nor Azah, who is a lecturer at the Chemistry Department in the Faculty of Science, UPM, said the reader and the strip use an antigen test method to detect the protein released by Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a sputum (a mixture of saliva and phlegm) sample.
According to her, the study on the two innovations is currently at an advanced clinical stage and that they would have to be approved by the Medical Device Authority under the Ministry of Health (MOH) before they can be marketed.
She said the first stage of the clinical study on the TB Reader had attained 70 percent efficacy. As for the TB strip, the clinical trials only started in August last year.
UPM’s study on the TB Strip started five years ago in collaboration with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan and MOH’s Institute of Respiratory Medicine.
The TB Reader, meanwhile, was first developed by UPM five years ago in collaboration with USM Kubang Kerian and Universiti Malaysia Perlis, as well as Sabah Tuberculosis Prevention Association, NanoMalaysia Bhd, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Date of Input: 24/12/2021 | Updated: 06/07/2023 | asrizam
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