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'Electronic Nose' Urine Test for TB Moves a Step Closer

by Kathy Jones on  August 4, 2011 at 7:56 PM Research News   - G J E 4
A fast, inexpensive urine test to detect and monitor the effectiveness of treatment for tuberculosis (TB), which is on a rampage in the developing world is being developed by scientists. Their study appears in the ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry.
 'Electronic Nose' Urine Test for TB Moves a Step Closer
'Electronic Nose' Urine Test for TB Moves a Step Closer
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A team led by Virander Singh Chauhan and Ranjan Kumar Nanda notes that TB strikes an estimated 10 million people and kills 3 million each year, mostly in developing countries. Health care workers diagnose the disease by identifying the TB bacterium in sputum or blood samples. But current tests tend to be time-consuming, sometimes taking days or weeks to give results. The tests also require the use of specially trained personnel or expensive equipment that might not be available in some areas.

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The scientists describe an advance toward a test that overcomes these drawbacks. They analyzed so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — substances that evaporate easily in the air — present in the urine of TB patients and compared them with VOCs in the urine of healthy patients. The scientists found that infection with TB produces a distinct pattern of certain VOCs in much the same way that distinct fingerprint patterns can identify individuals. Identification of these patterns sets the stage for developing a portable "electronic nose" that can quickly sniff urine samples to detect TB, the scientists suggest.
Source: Eurekalert
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