A test that could dramatically reduce the diagnosis time for MDR-TB will be evaluated during the next 12 months, the parties involved in the project said recently.
The two tests would be evaluated on about 40 000 TB patients at increased risk of multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), ahead of an anticipated rollout.
The announcement was made by the SA Medical Research Council, the National Health Laboratory Service and the Geneva-based, non-profit Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
Benefits to rapid diagnosis
"Rapid diagnosis of MDR-TB will have several benefits. These include earlier treatment of patients which will undoubtedly save more lives, reducing the time spent on inappropriate and ineffective patient treatment - thereby promoting the development of further drug resistance..." read a joint statement.
Project preparation was underway in the five provinces most affected by the disease - Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the North West and the Northern and Western Cape provinces. Testing was due to begin on April 1.
Based on the results of the demonstration studies, the council and the laboratory would issue policy recommendations on the routine use and rollout of the two tests to the Health Department. – (Sapa)
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