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Automated diagnostic test can identify TB infections in 2 hours

The Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2010

A new automated test to detect tuberculosis infections and the presence of an antibiotic-resistant TB strain can shave days to weeks off the time it takes to identify new infections, allowing treatment to be started immediately to prevent further spread of the bacterium. The new test, which can be performed by technicians with only limited training, could prove highly valuable not only in the developing world, but also in the inner cities of the developed world where outbreaks of the deadly disease are becoming more common. The World Health Organization is expected to decide by the end of this month whether to recommend use of the new test by its member countries. "These results suggest that it has the potential to revolutonize TB care, and WHO will treat it as a top priority," the agency said in a statement.