A new test to detect bacteria that cause tuberculosis and simultaneously determine if the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic rifampin has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The Xpert MTB/RIF Assay is less complex to administer than other screening tests for TB. Results are available in about two hours, while traditional methods to detect TB could take up to several months, the agency said in a news release.
People with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop full-blown TB once infected with the disease-causing bacteria, the FDA said. TB is a leading killer globally of people with HIV/AIDS.
Common symptoms of TB include a severe cough lasting at least three weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, fatigue and weight loss, the agency said.
The test is manufactured and marketed by Cepheid, based in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about TB.