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New Way To Diagnose Tuberculosis Discovered, Could Save More Lives

First Posted: Mar 27, 2017 03:28 AM EDT
Tuberculosis Diagnosis, Treatments
Tuberculosis could be diagnosed now in just a few days through genome sequencing, according to British scientists.
(Photo : Vutey Venn/YouTube screenshot)

Scientists have discovered the fastest way to diagnose tuberculosis. Patients who could be waiting for months to have the proper drugs could now be diagnosed in just days. This means that there would be a bigger chance of recuperation.

The discovery was led by researchers from Oxford and Birmingham. They have used the process known as genome sequencing to determine the DNA of various samples in just more than a week.

This breakthrough in tuberculosis could save lives, according to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He said that with this reduced time to identify who has tuberculosis that will lead them to a treatment program right away, then these could diminish the tuberculosis from the country. TB in the U.K. in increasing at an alarming rate recently.

"We're able to provide information on the species of the organism and the drugs to which it may be resistant if it's TB," said Dr. Grace Smith, a consultant microbiologist, as noted by Digital Journal. With this process, the patients could recover fast and lessen the chances of the infection.

Meanwhile, according to NCBI, the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) could be used as a tool for diagnosis and clinical management of tuberculosis (TB). This could detect the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the antibiotic resistance. The process could combat this persistent epidemic.

The WGs involves extraction and purification of genomic DNA, which is disintegrated into shorter pieces. Then, they are sequenced in "reads" of 100-500 base pairs (bps). The sequencing platforms are also available and the choice of the platform depends on the clinical needs.

If in case, the target is to determine the unfamiliar microorganisms the appropriate sequence must be the one with longer reads. If the aim is to examine the microorganism and identify drug resistance, then the chosen sequences must be the one with short reads. Overall, the whole-genome sequencing starts in the wet lab, in which the genomic DNA is isolated.

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