Centuries passed by since the identification of various micro organisms causing tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. Africanum, M. Bovis) but the disease still remains a challenge globally. According to the estimates by the World Health Organisation, there were 8.7 billion new cases and an alarming high death rate of 1.4 million in 2013. So in an attempt to curb the disease, various research projects and case studies are being conducted. In a study published in the journal of science and technology of advanced materials, researchers in Taiwan described a simple colour based diagnostic approach for the disease. The standard method for TB detection in clinical setting involves the culturing of M. Tuberculosis bacilli which requires 3-6 weeks to grow on solid culture media or 9-16 days in rapid liquid culture media. A faster alternative is the polymerase chain reaction technology, though it is still slow (2-5 hours) and requires sophisticated infrastructure and trained personnel.
In their paper, Tsung-Ting Tsai along with his colleagues employed gold nano particles and microfluidic paper based analytical device to achieve rapid diagnosis. They could easily detect the mycobacterium target sequences and the turnout time as low as 1 hour after human DNA was extracted from the patient. Although, the authors or researchers are still optimising the technology, it is believed to be effective, rapid and robust giving more efficient results than its predecessors.
Final Year B.Pharm