South Africans, as well as people from other countries, will soon be able to complete a new test that can determine whether the patients have multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
The invention was made by a medical team from the University of Pretoria (UP) led by Dr Nontuthuko Maningi, who had been trying to improve existing tests for the powerful disease. Until this moment, those methods could not provide the information needed to confirm the diagnosis.
“We have found new diagnostic markers of TB resistance genes that can be used to improve on the spectrum and application of new diagnostic assays. Current diagnostic assays are missing some resistance cases, that is when a patient infected with a resistant TB strain is not diagnosed with drug-resistant TB because the strain’s resistance is not detectable via the currently available diagnostic,” Maningi said.
Her team has already started contacting the local communities in order to find missing TB patients with a similar symptomatic pattern. However, there is still much to be done in both detecting and combating aspects of the treatment process.