WHO endorses rapid tuberculosis test
The World Health Organization has endorsed the new rapid automated molecular test system that can detect tuberculosis (TB) in less than two hours which we described on 13 September 2010. The endorsement follows 18 months of rigorous field assessment in countries with high rates of TB, including drug resistant cases and TB associated with HIV infection. Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Stop TB Department, said “This new test represents a milestone for global TB diagnosis and care.”
Affordability has been a key concern in the assessment. Co-developer FIND (the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) announced on 8 December 2010 that it had negotiated with the manufacturer Cepheid a 75% reduction in costs for 116 low- and middle-income countries where TB is endemic. For these countries the equipment would cost just under £11, 000 and tests just under £11 each, with additional reductions as volumes increase. Extensive roll-out will depend on donor organisations, some of whom have already expressed an interest in helping.