Health Care

X pert MTB/ RIF makes TB diagnosis quicker

When it comes to diagnosis of tuberculosis popularly called TB it was primarily based on smear or by tissue culture from the sample of the patient. This also had provision for clinical and radiography-based diagnosis for those whose sputum smear results are negative.  This entire diagnosis process takes about three weeks to about a month. However with the advancement in medical technology, diagnosis of TB has become quicker. One such new device for quicker TB diagnosis is the X pert MTB/ RIF.

X pert MTB/ RIF which is based on CBNAAT (cartridge based nucleic acid amplification testing)   is a fully automated computerised diagnostic test which simultaneously detects tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance within few hours. The device can diagnose the patient for TB in general as well as the multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB within two hours. Meanwhile yet another advantage of the X pert MTB/ RIF is that since the instrument generates an automated report, the test can also be conducted even by a laboratory technician.

This device X pert MTB/RIF is highly recommended for countries like India which has a high burden of TB patients as it improve the diagnosis facility and helps in reducing the number of TB patients. Meanwhile even the World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly recommended the X pert MTB/ RIF based on CBNAAT as initial diagnostic test in pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Experts also say that the device can lead to three times the detection numbers in drug-resistant TB. It is also termed as an effective tool even for HIV infected patients.

About the working of the device, the Xpert MTB/RIF purifies and concentrates Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli from sputum samples, isolates genomic material from the captured bacteria by sonication and subsequently amplifies the genomic DNA by PCR. The process identifies all the clinically relevant Rifampicin resistance inducing mutations in the RNA polymerase beta (rpoB) gene in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome in a real time format using fluorescent probes called molecular beacons. Results are obtained from unprocessed sputum samples in 90 minutes, with minimal biohazard. Basic technical training is required to operate the device.

Though the technology has been established and in existence for quite some time in developed nations, however it is just few years old in India. Slowly even the Government of India is introducing the device in their Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) programme. Recently about a week ago the X pert MTB/RIF device was introduced in one of Bengaluru’s government run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospitals in Karnataka.

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Luna Dewan

Luna Dewan

With six years of her journalism experience, Luna Dewan has worked for leading print media like the New Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle and DNA. She has been writing on healthcare, environment and various other civic issues. She is now with as the Assistant Editor.

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