UZH develops rapid test for resistant tuberculosis

Zurich – Together with a researcher from Germany, molecular biologist Prajwal from the University of Zurich (UZH) has developed a rapid diagnostic test for multi-resistant tuberculosis pathogens. A spin-off will now help bring this to market maturity.

The highly infectious bacterial disease tuberculosis takes around 1.4 million human lives each year, the UZH reported in a press release. Worldwide, the cases of multi-resistant and extremely resistant tuberculosis are on the rise. “One of the reasons for this is that current diagnostic tests either take too long or are too inaccurate to identify the pathogens and their resistances,” explains UZH molecular biologist Prajwal in the press release.

Together with German bioinformatics expert Sebastian Dümcke, Prajwal has developed a molecular-based rapid test to check for infection. “Our tests check for resistances against all relevant antibiotics directly in the patient sample – and delivers results within only 24 hours,” explains Prajwal. Current diagnostic tests use a bacteria culture and can take up to ten weeks.

The two researchers plan to roll-out on the market their rapid test as a kind of diagnostics kit with chemical reagents and the software to analyze the samples. Before diagnostics labs can use this, more clinical trials are needed to test the diagnostics method.

To introduce their new test on European markets – and later also global markets – as quickly as possible, the researchers have founded the spin-off Clemedi. “Clemedi’s vision is to develop further diagnostic tests for multi-resistant infectious pathogens, such as sexually transmitted infections or hospital-acquired infections,” it is reported in the press release.

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