30 Jul 2010

Expert believes new TB test must reach more people

7:08 pm on 30 July 2010

The World Health Organisation says a new diagnostic tool that cuts the time needed to detect drug-resistant tuberculosis must be made available to populations vulnerable to the disease.

According to the WHO, Asia carries more than half the global caseload of drug resistant TB, which is very difficult to treat.

The Regional Advisor on TB for the Western Pacific Region, Catharina van Weezenbeek says patients need to take medication for up to two years and the worst type of TB, which has no cure, kills one out of every two patients.

She says new diagnostic tools offer the opportunity to increase the sensitivity of TB diagnosis and to shorten the diagnosis of multi drug-resistant TB from eight weeks to two hours,

The WHO says there are 120 thousand new cases of the drug resistant strain in the Western Pacific each year, which make up 28 percent of cases worldwide.