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Instant TB test gets WHO nod

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently endorsed a new rapid test to detect tuberculosis, saying it could revolutionise treatment. This test, which is also getting uated at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, is a boost for the fight against tuberculosis in India, where 1.98 million new cases are reported every year. The test, also called “while you wait”, can provide accurate diagnosis for patients in about 100 minutes, compared to the current tests that can take up to three months. The WHO’s endorsement of the test, which is a fully automated NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test), follows 18 months of rigorous assessment of field effectiveness in early diagnosis of TB, as well as multidrug-resistant TB and TB complicated by HIV infection, which are more tough to diagnose. The WHO has recommended that countries hardest hit by TB include the test to control the disease. A senior official in the Central TB division of the Union Health Ministry said would to be beneficial but the cost for a single sample test, around Rs 800, is a concern.

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