Sree Chitra develops device for screening TB

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) has developed a point-of-care device for screening tuberculosis (TB) of the lung. This innovation uses the technique of isothermal amplification of DNA, which does not require expensive equipment. The presence of disease-causing bacterial DNA is detected using an innovative spectral reader, which makes its detection faster than the currently used devices.

“The institute transferred this technology last year itself to the medical device industry partner in India. The initial validation results are very encouraging. The ICMR and WHO officials visited the institute last week and were very keen on taking it to the next level including multi centre trails and the validation of ability to test different strains of TB bacteria,” said Dr Asha Kishore, director of the institute.

A multi-centric trial at the national level has been planned to confirm its sensitivity and specificity in detecting TB, causing bacteria. If the technology performs as expected, it will be one of the most affordable and rapid techniques that could be placed in primary health centres for fast and efficient screening for TB. It can make a substantial contribution in achieving the national goal of eradicating TB by the year 2025, said a statement issued by the union department of science and technology on Wednesday.

The currently used techniques for TB diagnosis are microscopic examination of sputum using special stains, Xpert MR/RIF assay, and TB lipoarabinomannan antigen tests. Each of these tests, however, has various limitations, including low specificity, high cost to establish and operate the equipment, and a certain level of expertise to run the test. The technology developed by SCTIMST addressed these problems and developed a point of care device which can deliver fast and accurate results.

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