SYDNEY, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers said they had uncovered a unique blood-based biomarker signature for tuberculosis, allowing those infected with the major lung disease to be easily identified and treated.
The process involves a simple blood test for tuberculosis patients, including those with non-symptomatic early-stage disease, and "could be key in supporting health efforts to control and eventually eliminate the TB epidemic which is responsible for approximately 1.5 million deaths each year globally", according to a statement from the Centenary Institute, a world-leading independent medical research institute, on Friday.
"A major issue in controlling the spread of tuberculosis is the difficulty of detecting the disease quickly and effectively, particularly in developing countries and in remote areas where technology and testing facilities may be limited," institute researcher and the study's lead author Jennifer Ho said.
"Our biomarker discovery could be used as the basis for a highly effective and simple diagnostic blood test to help detect these prevalent cases of TB in the community," she said.
The findings were reported in the Journal of Infection medical publication.
Active tuberculosis case finding, including systematic screening of high-risk groups, will be needed to dramatically reduce tuberculosis incidence worldwide, the institute's tuberculosis research program head Warwick Britton said.
"Early case detection and appropriate treatment is absolutely critical to getting on top of this highly infectious disease," he said.
"Our research offers up an exciting new approach to help realize the ambition of global TB elimination." Enditem