Scientists develop Fluorogenic Probe to rapidly identify TB Bacteria

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Imaging technologies for tuberculosis (TB), a global public health concern, for diagnosing this infectious disease of the lungs, are wide in demand. Despite this, they are largely underdeveloped. Rapid and specific labelling of the causative agent of TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), has been presenting big challenges for clinicians. Scientists have suggested an imaging probe based on dual-targeting molecular approach for this pathogenic bacteria that can surmount this problem. The application of this probe, claim the researchers, will promote a speedy recovery of patients and curb the number of people dying from this infection.

Rapid and Specific Labelling of Single Live TB Bacterium Possible

Scientists from several institutes from across three countries, namely China, the U.S., and Singapore, demonstrated the efficacy of dual-targeting fluorogenic probe in rapid and specific labeling of the live bacteria within a short span of one hour. The findings are published on August 15, 2018 in Science Translational Medicine.

According to the lead author of the study, the diagnosis of TB is lengthy and costly. The speedy recovery in patients is especially plagued by the paucity of technologies that can rapidly diagnose the diseases as well as monitor its progress. Treatments are capital-intensive and hence can be economically devastating for patients and caregivers, especially in less developed countries. To top it all, the emergence of drug-susceptible TB has further accentuated the morbidity of the disease.

Low-Cost Microfluidic Chip can Automate Counts of Pathogens from Patients’ Sputum

The researchers claim that the dual-targeting probe they developed is efficacious enough to identify single live TB bacteria from dead ones as well as from other bacterial species. They have also developed a low-cost microfluidic chip that can automate the counts of TB bacteria from sputum samples of the patients. The simple probe along with the automated chip helps in rapid labelling of the strains of TB pathogens (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)) and automate their count by just using the patient’s sample.
The researchers opine that the probe technology with labelling approach will expand our understanding of TB pathogenesis and help in finding more effective treatments.

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