WHO believes the test could revolutionize TB care because the test provides results while the patient waits and therefore has the potential for directing appropriate, immediate treatment and preventing spread of the disease. Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO's Stop TB Department, said in the December 8th news release: "This new test represents a major milestone for global TB diagnosis and care." TB remains a worldwide problem but especially so in countries in southeast Asia and Africa.
Benefits of the new rapid test are that it is fully automated, safe to perform, and easy to use. Cost, however, remains a key concern as both the test and the equipment to run the test are expensive for resource-poor countries. According to the WHO news release, co-developer FIND (the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) has negotiated with the manufacturer Cepheid a significant reduction in the price of the test system for over one hundred low- and middle-income countries where TB is endemic.
WHO plans to release guidance and recommendations to help countries incorporate this test in their TB programs.
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Medical News Today. WHO Endorses Rapid TB Test. Available online at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/210869.php through http://www.medicalnewstoday.com. Accessed January 2011.