A new blood test to detect tuberculosis has been developed by scientists in the United Kingdom. It is hoped that the test will be particularly effective in developing countries where TB still kills millions of people, BBC News reports.
According to the BBC, researchers from George's Hospital and the Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research say the serum test is 94% accurate. Results of the study were published in The Lancet.
This isn't the first time scientists have tried to come up with an alternative to the standard examination of sputum from the lungs under a microscope. This test requires equipment that may not be available in many parts of the world, and it takes a long time to get results. According to BBC News, the blood test looks for indicators of infection, and these results could out-perform alternatives.
The World Health Organization estimates that there were 1.4 million deaths from tuberculosis in 2004, with Southeast Asia and Africa particularly hard-hit. In 2003, 14 000 new cases of TB were reported in the United States. The United Kingdom has about 7 000 new cases annually. -(HealthDayNews, September 2006)
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For more information on care and support of tuberculosis visit South African National TB Association (SANTA) or phone them on 011 454 0260.