New Blood Test can Diagnose TB Infections Within Hours

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health threat. It requires a rapid, non–sputum-based quantitative test to detect active Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections in clinically diverse populations and quickly assess Mtb treatment responses for emerging drug-resistant strains. Scientists from Arizona State University have developed a method to diagnose TB within few hours.


Generally, TB treatment takes several weeks for complete recovery. Although the TB infections remains a major risk to human health, particularly for the developing world and people with HIV infections. The aim is to cure the patient of TB and restore their quality of life and productivity.

TB infections can be treated by taking several drugs for 6 to 9 months. To make it easier, scientists have developed the first rapid blood test that can diagnose tuberculosis. In addition, the test measures the severity of the deadly infection within a few hours.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), more than one-third of the world’s population may have such dormant TB infections. In 2016, almost two million people worldwide died because of TB infections.

Tony Hu, the researcher at Arizona State University said, “In the current frontlines of TB testing, coughed-up sputum, blood culture tests, invasive lung and lymph biopsies, or spinal taps are the only way to diagnose TB.”

“The results can give false negatives, and these tests are further constrained because they can take days to weeks to get the results.”

Due to inefficient vaccines, TB remains a worldwide epidemic. But this new method holds the potential to beat current vaccines. And the most amazing is, it only takes few hours to diagnose.

Scientists noted, “This test also holds promise for rapid assessment of TB treatment. It is an important factor in reducing the development and spread of drug-resistant TB strains.”

Hu said, “We are particularly excited about the ability of our high-throughput assay to provide rapid quantitative results that can be used to monitor treatment effects, which will give physicians the ability to better treat worldwide TB infections. Furthermore, our technology can be used with standard clinical instruments found in hospitals worldwide,”

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