Handheld tuberculosis test enables strain identification within 15 minutes

QuantiMDx was recently awarded a $1.6 million grant to develop a new bedside test for tuberculosis called Q-TB, which will also test for drug-resistant strains of the infection.

The British biotech firm will build on information from St. George's University of London and collaborate with South African laboratories to develop the test.

The test uses a small cartridge to hold sputum from patients, and integrates a DNA analysis with sputum analyzing technology and a TB identification system. The combination of technologies allows doctors, nurses and health professionals to diagnose a patient and know what strain of TB the patient has within 15 minutes.

Philip Butcher, professor of molecular medical microbiology at St. George's University of London, said a fast and accurate method of diagnosing TB is needed to fight the disease and prevent its spread.

"It is a major advantage that this new test will also guide the treatment of patients," Butcher said.

QuantoMDx Chief sSientific Officer and Co-Founder Jonathan O'Halloran said the only was to effectively treat and prevent the spread of multi-drug resistant TB is to perform testing rapidly at the patient's side and receive an immediate prescription of drug treatments.

"Our robust handheld device is ideal for use in field settings, and is responsive to the addition of hundreds, even thousands, of new diagnostic targets for disease as these are discovered, thus providing a one-stop testing device meeting the testing needs of communities worldwide," O'Halloran said.