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Researchers develop breath test for TB

Inhaled form of isoniazid could show almost instant results

TB vaccine

Researchers have developed the first breath test to diagnose tuberculosis (TB).

It uses an inhaled form of the antibiotic isoniazid that is activated by TB enzymes that are unique to the disease.

The researchers gave a molecularly-labelled form of isoniazid to laboratory rabbits - when TB was present, nitrogen gas was released from the lungs and detectable by a mass spectrometer.

The new breath test samples the whole lung's capacity and researchers hope results will be available almost immediately.

In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of a DNA detection technique called GeneXpert for TB diagnosis. From a sample of sputum, the method can detect whether TB is present and if it is resistant to rifampicin, a common treatment, within three hours.

TB infects 8.6m people worldwide every year and kills 1.3m, second only to HIV. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in the global fight against TB, according to the WHO.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

26th September 2014

From: Research

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