Researchers to create diagnostic technologies for tuberculosis

20 August 2019 (Last Updated August 20th, 2019 13:15)

An international research team led by the University of Edinburgh in the UK will work on the development of new technologies to diagnose tuberculosis (TB).

Researchers to create diagnostic technologies for tuberculosis
Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause TB. Credit: NIAID.

An international research team led by the University of Edinburgh in the UK will work on the development of new technologies to diagnose tuberculosis (TB).

The researchers aim to make the new tests low-cost and easy-to-use even in remote settings.

The diagnostic tests are also expected to be associated with lower implementation and running costs, while requiring less training and expertise.

According to the university, doctors will be able to use the technology to interpret test results, log location details of patients and transfer data for reporting cases.

The TB technologies will fall under the €4.5m Accurate, Rapid, Robust and Economical diagnostic technologies for Tuberculosis (ARREST-TB) project intended to address the emerging TB threat globally.

ARREST-TB focuses on underprivileged and hard-to-reach regions, as well as countries that have a high TB rate but use inadequate detection techniques.

University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry researcher Dr Seshasailam Venkateswaran said: “ARREST-TB aims to develop affordable, accurate, rapid and scalable technologies that will provide timely and accurate diagnosis of TB in resource limited settings.

“Our diagnostics will enable precise treatments and limit disease propagation. The project is driven by a practical need to achieve diagnosis of TB and drug resistance and a seamless collection of data at low costs with minimal training and expertise.”

The project involves clinicians, biologists, chemists, physicists and engineers from Italy, India, Russia, Spain and Scotland.

Working on the project with the University of Edinburgh is Heriot-Watt University, the University of Padova, India’s National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, and the Central Tuberculosis Research Institute in Moscow.

Spain-based DestiNA Genomica and Genetic Analysis Strategies, Shanmukha Innovations in India, and Italy’s Optoi are also part of the project.

ARREST-TB is funded by the European Union (EU), the Indian Department of Biotechnology, the Government of India and the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education.