Human tuberculosis is second only to Covid as a major fatal infectious disease. It is a treatable condition but estimates suggest that a third of the people in the world have latent TB.
- In 2020 10 million people had tuberculosis (TBI), with deaths increasing for the first time in over a decade.
- 4,100 people die each day from this treatable disease.
- More than a third of people with TBI in 2020 went undiagnosed, with each untreated case infecting 15 more.
- Estimates suggest 33% of world’s population has Latent TB (LTBI) – this is more than 13 million people in the US.
The WHO ‘End TB Strategy’ is to find and treat people with active disease, conduct universal screening of individuals at high risk, and provide preventive therapy for those at risk of progressing to active TB disease.
- Sustained political commitment
- Access to quality-assured TB sputum (phlegm) microscopy for accurate diagnosis
- Standardised short-course (six months) chemotherapy for all cases of TB, under proper case-management conditions
- Uninterrupted supply of quality-assured drugs
- Recording and reporting systems that enable treatment outcomes to be monitored.
PBD Biotech is working to support the WHO strategy by:
- Developing a rapid affordable TB test for diagnosis or triage that does not rely on sputum.
- Creating improved tools for detection of latent TB and sub clinical TB.
- Funding clinical trials with high risk groups in countries with high incident of HIV/AIDS and TB.
Current TB tests are limited
Current tests for tuberculosis use sputum, which is produced at an advanced stage of disease progression and difficult for some patient groups, especially children, to spit for analysis.
Other tests use the immune response of the patient, again this is not developed in the early stages of the disease when the bacteria are controlled within granuloma in the lungs.
Actiphage offers a solution
Research presented at the 32nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (2022) demonstrated that Actiphage detects bacteria circulating in the blood and can distinguish between those patients with latent infection (controlled within granuloma) and incipient infection which is progressing towards active TB disease.
Report by Ben Butkus in GenomeWeb – “Molecular TB Assay From PBD Biotech Shows Promise in Detecting Latent-to-Active Disease Risk” 28th April 2022.