September 6, 2010; Source: Abilene Reporter News | The New England Journal of Medicine website reported a new diagnostic procedure for tuberculosis last Wednesday. The test, which allows the disease to be diagnosed and treated within the same day, is expected to replace the one now most commonly used, which is 125 years old. There is hope that the breakthrough will reduce the further spread of the disease in poor communities where follow up visits for treatment may be difficult. The test also reveals when the disease is resistant to some drugs. The group working on the project continues to develop the test to pick up resistance to multiple drugs. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the U.S. Government funded the work. The head of TB programs for Gates says, “You can tell the patient before they leave the office if they have TB and if it’s drug-resistant. It’s transformational.”—Ruth McCambridge
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