Chula Researchers Develop Rapid MTB Strip Test for Tuberculosis

    Lecturers of the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University have developed the MTB Strip Test Kit for Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis that's accurate and easy to use, guaranteed by the 2023 Invention Award from the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) -- Another hope to reduce the spread of tuberculosis in Thailand.

    BANGKOK, May 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Tuberculosis is one of the most contagious diseases that continues to challenge the public health system today.  Although the World Health Organization (WHO) aims for 2035 to be the year to end the global tuberculosis crisis, the disease trend is still worrisome.

    Chula Researchers Develop Rapid MTB Strip Test for Tuberculosis
    Chula Researchers Develop Rapid MTB Strip Test for Tuberculosis

    "Thailand is one of the 14 countries with the most severe TB incidence...," said Associate Professor Dr. Panan Ratthawongjirakul, Department of Transfusion Medicine, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University.

    "One of the mechanisms to help end tuberculosis is identifying TB patients as early as possible to control and limit its transmission." said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Panan about the inception of the research project to develop MTB Strip (Mycobacterium tuberculosis Strip) that is easy to use, convenient to read by the naked eye, yielding fast and accurate results at low costs.

    "If we can distribute this test to small hospitals everywhere, we will be able to identify TB patients within two hours and screen positive patients quickly into the treatment system. We believe this will help reduce the number of TB cases in our country," said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Panan.

    MTB Strip TB Test Kit consists of 2 main parts:
    1. Genetic amplification using isothermal amplification with specifically modified and designed primers.
    2. Genetic materials detection using developed test strips, which are manufactured from ISO13485-certified industrial plants for medical device manufacturing.

    The genetic material extracted from the sputum sample is amplified using a special primer for 20 – 40 minutes at 37 degrees Celsius. Then, the developed test strip is dipped into the amplified genetic material. The results will appear on the test strip as positive and negative results like the ATK test.

    "The results are up to 96 percent accurate compared to Realtime PCR and other commonly used acid-resistant dye methods. Importantly, this kit is cheaper than molecular biology tests because it does not require any special tools such as thermocycler," Assoc. Prof. Dr. Panan said emphatically. 

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