BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A team of scientists from the Stanford School of Medicine is on the verge of perfecting a new test aimed at detecting tuberculosis with an uncanny efficiency. Most of the doctors involved in the study declared that the Khatri blood test for TB is a game-changer and far more reliant than the traditional means of testing.
Although TB or consumption is not as dangerous as it was a century ago, it still claims 1.5 million lives each year all over the world. According to Purvesh Khatri, the leading author of the study, approximately one-third of Earth’s population is infected with this disease. This means that more than 240 million people are currently carrying the actives strain of tuberculosis.
Nearly two centuries ago, tuberculosis was regarded as being the number one killer in the United States. Again we state that although the disease is not as dangerous as it used to be, it still manages to claim lives each year. And it seems that the most affected patients are those living in the poor regions of the globe.
Tuberculosis or consumption, as it was called in the past, is a harrowing disease caused by an infection with a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB mainly affects the lungs, but as the disease progresses, it can attack other areas of the body such as the brain, kidneys and spinal cord.
Surprisingly enough, most of the patients are asymptomatic, meaning that they carry a latent strain of the bacteria. The latent strain of TB can become active in approximately 10 percent of patients, and, unfortunately, more than half would them will perish.
The most common symptoms associated with tuberculosis are violent coughs, usually accompanied by bloody sputum, weight loss and night sweats. As we stated before, once the disease progresses, it is capable of taking down other organs, such as the brain and the spinal cord.
In terms of spreading mechanisms, those infected with the latent strain of TB, cannot infect other people. Only the patients carrying the active strain can infect others through singing, spitting, coughing, sneezing or speaking. However, the disease cannot be transmitted through kissing regardless of what strain the patient is carrying.
Statistically speaking, the doctors have discovered that the disease is more likely to affect patient diagnosed with HIV\AIDS and those who are smoking.
The traditional means of testing for TB is a sputum test. But, as Khatri pointed out, this test has many limitations. For example, it can produce a lot of false-positive results and, as the patient recovers, it grows increasingly difficult to obtain a sputum sample. Moreover, the traditional test cannot account for the disease in those infected with HIV/AIDS.
But, it would seem that the Khatri blood test for TB is a game-changer. According to the preliminary results, the TB test can detect the disease with an 86 percent efficiency in children. Moreover, the test does not return false-positive results, and can detect the infection even in those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Also, the Khatri blood test can also return a negative result with a 99 percent efficiency.