LED-FM provides faster, more efficient TB diagnosis

A technique known as LED-FM was recently proven to diagnose tuberculosis faster and more efficiently than other currently used methods.

Researchers led by Luis Cuevas and Mohammed Yassin from the Liverpool School of Tropical Diseases in Liverpool, England, have conducted studies with the technique that suggest poorer countries could use the it to diagnose endemic TB at a faster rate without sacrificing accuracy, according to

LED Fluorescence Microscopy, or LED-FM, is also a less labor-intensive procedure and more convenient for patients. The researchers said the technique could also work to cut down the number of patients who are needlessly treated for TB because it reduces the number of false positives.

In the study, Cuevas and Yassin examined nearly 2,400 patients from Ethiopia, Yemen and Nigeria, who had a TB characteristic cough for more than two weeks. The researchers used a form of LED-FM to find more patients with TB than the standard smear microscopy test.

"This study has shown that LED-FM can play a key role in reaching the World Health Organization targets for TB detection, reducing laboratory workloads, and ensuring poor patients' access to TB diagnosis and prompt treatment,” the authors said, reports.

The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development. LW Scientific provided the Fluorescence Microscopy Systems and paid the cost of shipping to the study sites.

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