Industry News

Our news page will keep you informed of press releases and news articles on rapid and alternative microbiological method technologies and updates from technology suppliers.

Please click here to submit your news.

Ifakara Researchers Develop New, Fast Method to Test TB in Babies

Tanzanian researchers have developed a new tuberculosis test known as TAM-TB assay that they describe as ‘the first reliable immunodiagnostic assay to detect active tuberculosis in children’ that is capable of providing results within 24 hours only.

In the statement made available to The Guardian yesterday by the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) researchers, the new test that is sputum independent provides a fast and accurate tool to diagnose tuberculosis in children.

Commenting on the study a researcher from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Switzerland who coordinated the study, Dr Klaus Reither established that the new TAM-TB assay revealed that the study report has already appeared in the journal of Lancet Infectious Diseases earlier this month.

"This rapid and reliable test has the great potential to significantly improve the diagnosis of active tuberculosis in children," said Reither.

According to IHI, the new test was assessed in tuberculosis endemic regions in Tanzania at its centers and NIMR Mbeya Medical Research Center where Dr Reither used to work.

Dr Reither underscored that using standard intracellular cytokine staining procedures and polychromatic flow cytometry, the test result is available within 24 hours after blood sampling.

The test will also improve diagnostics and treatment efficiency, especially in HIV-infected kids, as well as decrease related costs.

The TAM-TB assay was tested in a proof-of concept study carried out between May 2011 and February 2013 in 290 children that presented symptoms of tuberculosis were recruited and followed-up at NIMR (Mbeya) and at Ifakara Bagamoyo health and research centers.

About one million children per year develop tuberculosis (TB) worldwide, but detecting TB in children has been a challenge as the symptoms are often non-specific and similar to those of common pediatric illnesses, including pneumonia and malnutrition.

TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the TB bacteria are spread from person to person through the air making it very contagious.

Cytokines are a category of small proteins important in cell signaling and affect the behaviour of other cells.
Cytometry is a general name for a group of biological methods used to measure various parameters of cells.

 Intracellular Cytokine Staining is a flow cytometry based assay that detects the production and accumulation of cytokines which play an important role in the immune response.

Similalry, mid last year, an international study aimed at identifying new treatment regimens that could shorten the length of TB treatment from six to three months started in Tanzania and South Africa.

The Multi-Arm-Multi-Stage -TB (MAMS-TB) trial uses a combination of established drugs and novel drugs and is funded by the European Developing Country Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) through the Pan African Consortium for the Evaluation of Anti-tuberculosis agents or PanACEA consortium.

The MAMS design enables regimens with unsatisfactory outcomes to be dropped rapidly. It allows the researchers to test multiple potential treatments quickly to select the best regiment to be used in a trial that would allow a new treatment to be approved by licensing authorities.

“The MAMS-TB trial is a unique opportunity to develop a novel TB treatment rapidly that will substantially shorten treatment,” said the Chief Investigator Martin Boeree from the University of Nijmegen.

Michael Hoelscher from Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, who represented the University that sponsors the study, said “…in the MAMS-TB study, we are developing better methods to treat TB for the most disadvantaged in the world community”.

Stephen Gillespie from the University of St Andrews noted that this new development has only been able to occur because of the work of our many collaborators in Africa and the work that the consortium has been doing to develop capacity to test new regimens in an African setting.

One of the principal investigators, Lilian Tina Minja, of the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), said the PanACEA consortium is an excellent example for bilateral and dynamic collaborations between Southern and Northern partners in TB drug development and evaluation.

According to Dr Klaus Reither, a leading TB researcher from IHI, the PanACEA, MAMS study at Mwananyamala is the largest TB drug trial to involve the institute.

Another principal investigator, Gibson Kibiki, said trial is innovative in terms of design, collaboration and the use of a complete electronic source system.

There are nearly eight million new TB cases every year and more than a million deaths. Conventional market solutions to TB drug development are not expected to provide a solution.

The PanACEA consortium has been able to develop capacity of African centres to tackle TB through building infrastructure and supporting the professional development of African and European scientists. There are 11 collaborating centres in sub-Saharan Africa and a growing group of European collaborators.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form