By: Waqaar Khawar

Veredus Laboratories has developed a diagnostic method that significantly decreases the time required to diagnose tuberculosis (TB). VereMTB, a multiplexed molecular diagnostic chip, accurately identifies Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and mutations relevant to drug-resistance and treatment.

From a sputum sample, VereMTB is able to identify the specific strain of Mycobacterium including drug-resistance causing mutations in 3 hours. This is a monumental improvement from culturing bacteria from sputum, the currently used method, which can take up to 8 weeks.According to Dr. Rosemary Tan, Chief Executive Officer of Veredus Laboratories, “8.7 million people were diagnosed with TB and 1.4 million people died from the disease” in 2011.

The successful treatment of TB is integral in the prevention of the formation of new strains of drug-resistant TB. Knowing which specific mutations are involved early in the process will significantly increase the chance of successful treatment. These advantages provided by VereMTB will not only help the patient with TB but entire communities around the world. Furthermore, VereMTB’s compact size allows for its deployment in a wide range of settings lending.

China, India, and Russia are affected by 60% of the world’s multi-drug resistant cases of TB. Currently, the Chinese Center for Disease Control in Beijing is evaluating VereMTB as part of their strategy in TB prevention and treatment going forward. Professor Zhao Yanlin, Director of National TB Reference Laboratory and Vice Director of the National Center for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says, “The speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness of the results have been very promising.”

The iMedicalApps team has previously reported on tuberculosis and its implications. We reported on a mobile stethoscope kit which was able to detect tuberculous pericarditis using low cost mobile phones.

Veredus Laboratories is a subsidiary of STMicroelectronics.

Source: Reuters