Affordable technologies for tuberculosis testing could help millions of patients in poverty or remote settings.
Researchers will develop diagnostic tests that require low implementation and running costs and minimal training and expertise.
The technology will be used by doctors to interpret test results, log location details of patients and transmit data for reporting cases.
The global diagnostic tools will be developed by researchers as part of a €4.5 million project to tackle the global threat of TB.
The project, known as Accurate, Rapid, Robust and Economical diagnostic technologies for Tuberculosis (ARREST-TB) aims to offer affordable, accurate diagnosis in poor and hard to reach places.
An international team of researchers led by the University of Edinburgh will seek to develop low-cost technologies that are easy to use.
The project addresses the challenge of many countries with high rates of TB that rely on poor detection methods.
Existing tests for TB require skilled personnel, significant costs and centralised facilities that are difficult to set up and maintain in remote locations.
TB is the leading cause of death worldwide from infectious disease. There are an estimated 10.4 million new cases each year.
The ARREST-TB team brings together clinicians, biologists, chemists, physicists and engineers from Italy, India, Russia, Spain and Scotland.
It is led by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry alongside Heriot-Watt University, the University of Padova, the Central Tuberculosis Research Institute in Moscow, and India’s National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis.
Also involved in the project are Spain’s DestiNA Genomica and Genetic Analysis Strategies, India’s Shanmukha Innovations, and Optoi, from Italy.
The project is funded by the EU, the Indian Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
Dr Seshasailam Venkateswaran from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry leads the project. He said:
ARREST-TB aims to develop affordable, accurate, rapid and scalable technologies that will provide timely and accurate diagnosis of TB in resource limited settings.
Our diagnostics will enable precise treatments and limit disease propagation. The project is driven by a practical need to achieve diagnosis of TB and drug resistance and a seamless collection of data at low costs with minimal training and expertise.”