Magnets Help to Test for TB
According to a recent article in New Scientist, tuberculosis can now be diagnosed in just under 30 minutes, thanks to a new technology that uses magnetic nanoparticles to identify the disease in sputum, even at very low concentrations.
Traditionally, TB is tested by examining bacteria in sputum under a microscope, then sending out samples to a lab for conformation. This involves growing larger colonies of bacteria, which can take weeks, and consequently, delays treatment for many. Not to mention, the extended waiting period can also risk the spread of the disease.
Instead, with this new test, doctors can simply add the sputum to a solution containing nanoparticles with an iron core encased in iron oxide. Each nanoparticle is loaded with antibodies that encourage any TB-causing bacteria in the sputum to bind to it. The new test, which was developed by Ralph Weissleder of Harvard Medical School, offers an alternative to time consuming examinations and testing for physicians in geographic areas that could potentially face a bevy of cases.
Posted by Jay Roberts at 06:24 PM | Permalink