SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A Dutch scientist has developed a new, non-invasive test to detect tuberculosis in children.
Young children have a hard time coughing up the sputum needed to test for tuberculosis, making the insertion of a tube into the stomach to collect some of the stomach content a necessary but very uncomfortable procedure, broadcaster NOS reports.
The test is so traumatising for small children that it is often carried out not at all or far too late, which can delay treatment unnecessarily.
The new test, developed over three years by researcher Petra de Haas of tuberculosis charity KNCV, only requires a small amount of faeces and enables much faster results than the old test.
Ten million people fall victim to TB every year, and some 1.6 million die from what a preventable disease is. Of those 233,000 are children.
De Haas, whose idea to use faeces instead of sputum was met with criticism because scientists said a multitude of bacteria would make it difficult to isolate the dna of the TB bacterium, was praised for her tenacity by KNVC director Kitty van Weezenbeek.
‘She went ahead regardless of anything or anyone. And look, she did it,’ Van Weezenbeek said. Apart from detecting TB, the test also indicates whether or not the bacterium is resistant to the usual antibiotic used to combat the disease.
‘If that is not the case, the diagnosis is multi-resistant TB, which requires a different treatment,’ NOS quoted Van Weezenbeek as saying. (DutchNews)