According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tuberculosis (TB) is among the most dangerous infectious diseases worldwide, ranking alongside HIV/AIDS as a major cause of death.
About one quarter of the global population is infected with latent (non-active) TB, and 10-15 percent will go on to develop the active TB disease.
In 2017, 10 million people fell ill with TB, with 3.6 million of these people going undiagnosed, or unreported. We know that better reporting, diagnosis, and access to care will help close this gap.
In recent years, resistance to important drugs used to combat TB has increased. Conventional antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) methods for TB, such as disk diffusion, can take an extremely long time to give results, require significant laboratory infrastructure and training, and are potentially biohazardous. As a result, there remains a gap between acute TB cases and reported TB.
One of the targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This includes ending the TB epidemic, which demands a global effort.
This effort would set out to tackle the rise of multidrug-resistant TB strains. Fast diagnosis and treatment of multidrug-resistant infections is essential to prevent death from TB and the spread of the disease.
Bruker is committed to tackling TB to help the United Nations meet its Sustainability Development Goal.
On World Tuberculosis Day 2019, we launched a major innovation in the field of TB diagnostics. The new test (a PCR-based FluoroType MTBDR 2.0 assay) identifies TB pathogens, as well as important antibiotic resistance characteristics, in three hours. It can also be used to discover multidrug-resistant TB by detecting more than 60 mutations in the TB genes, uncovering more than 500 resistance patterns with relevant information to guide treatment.
This level of genetic specificity could only previously be achieved with lengthy and complex methods like sequencing.
Our collaborations across government health departments, education, social-welfare organizations, patients, at-risk communities, public health trusts, and technology providers will support the treatment of drug-resistant TB across the globe.
For more information on this global health issue, take a look at the WHO End TB Strategy.