Could nano technology be used to detect TB at point of care?

There are an estimated 11 million people with tuberculosis (TB) in the world, with nearly 2 million deaths occurring annually. In the UK TB rates are at a ten year high, with over 3,000 cases reported in London last year. Conventional methods of diagnosis such as smear microscopy and culture testing are time consuming and require skilled professionals. Global figures from the World Health Organisation suggest that less than two thirds of the 9 million new cases each year are detected. The use of rapid point of care test POCT would be of enormous benefit, such tests can improve patient outcomes by ensuring patients are treated early, thereby reducing the chance of complications and increased healthcare costs. Importantly, it would also reduce the opportunity for transmission and spread of this highly infectious disease. However, there a number of challenges to overcome before such tests are freely available in the countries that have the highest disease burden. Ideal POCT need to be cheap, simple, robust, and could be implemented in countries which have minimal infrastructure but also delivering the optimum performance. Nano technology based point of care tests have the potential to address these requirements they could also detect analytes at molecular levels and can be configured to detect and differentiate among multiple biomarkers.

Applied Nanodetectors a leading developer in the field of nanosenor technology for early disease detection has recently won a Technology Strategy Board Grant award in the Fighting Infection Through Detection funding competition in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Their project is to work with Dr. Ruth McNerney (LSHTM), to develop a real time point of care test to detect TB using a nanosensor array to detect TB in patient samples. This type of new test could be used to detect individuals with TB allowing rapid isolation of infectious patients and accelerating access to treatment. Current rapid tests are inadequate they lack sensitivity and or specificity and usually require laboratory infrastructure and personnel with specialist skills.

Dr. Victor Higgs Managing Director of Applied Nanodetectors said “This is a great opportunity to work with world leading researchers to develop a new ultrasensitive test for TB. We will design nanosensor solutions and LSHTM will provide expertise in TB diagnosis”.

Ruth McNerney (LSHTM) said “we are delighted to have this opportunity to explore the potential of nanosenor technology to help control of one the world’s most deadly diseases”.

Next post: