Research team works to develop accurate pocket-sized test for TB

A research team coordinated by Ghent University in Belgium recently launched the Pocket project in an attempt to develop a low-cost point-of-care test for tuberculosis detection.

The Pocket project seeks to integrate new technologies into a new point-of-care TB test that would bridge the gap between high-end expensive tests and low-cost tests with poor accuracy.

The test uses a sensor in a silicon nitride chip and new diagnostic antibodies to detect TB antigens in urine. Researchers will complete field trials in Africa and India during the final year of the project's development and testing.

Researchers from Ghent University; CIN2-CSIC in Spain; Imec in Belgium; Lionex in Germany; microfluidic ChipShop in Germany and Trinean in Belgium have come together for the project. Development of the low-cost, high-accuracy test began on Nov. 1, and will continue for three years. The Pocket project will receive $2.6 million from the European Union.

Every year, 8.8 million new cases of TB and almost 2 million deaths are reported worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Most cases occur in developing countries, but TB is becoming a threat in major urban European countries because of an increase in global travel.