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WHO endorses tests by ICMR, two others for TB diagnosis, drug resistance detection

All the three tests are run on the portable, battery-operated Truenat device and provide results in less than an hour, the bodies said in a joint statement.

Published: 03rd July 2020 07:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2020 07:25 PM   |  A+A-

tuberculosis

For representational purposes

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has endorsed tests by three research bodies, including ICMR, for initial diagnosis of tuberculosis and detection of resistance to a drug most commonly used to treat the disease.

The three research bodies said their tests -- "rapid molecular Truenat assays -- have been endorsed by the global health body for initial diagnosis of tuberculosis and subsequent detection of rifampicin resistance in adults and children.

Rifampicin is a standardized drug and the most commonly used first-line treatment of tuberculosis.

The three research bodies -- the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Molbio Diagnostics and the Indian Council of Medical Research said drug-resistant tuberculosis poses a particular challenge, with growing resistance to rifampicin and other drugs that treat the disease.

Truenat is a novel molecular test that rapidly detects tuberculosis and rifampicin-resistance.

All the three tests are run on the portable, battery-operated Truenat device and provide results in less than an hour, the bodies said in a joint statement.

"Both Truenat MTB and Truenat MTB Plus (tests) detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria for TB diagnosis, while Truenat MTB-RIF Dx (test) identifies resistance to rifampicin, they said in the statement.

Truenat MTB, Truenat MTB Plus and Truenat MTB-RIF  are names of the tests endorsed by WHO.

  Noting that tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide, with around 10 million cases and 1.

5 million deaths in 2018, they said drug-resistant tuberculosis poses a particular challenge, with growing resistance to rifampicin and other drugs that treat the disease.

"In 2018, around half-a-million new cases of rifampicin resistant TB were diagnosed. Urgent action is needed to close the gap in tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment, particularly in low-resource settings, to reach the WHO target of ending tuberculosis by 2030," the statement said.

To that end, bringing sensitive TB diagnosis and drug susceptibility testing closer to patients is a key priority for global TB control, but requires robust point-of-care diagnostic tests that are easily implementable at lower levels of the healthcare system, it said.

"This is a matter of pride for ICMR, Department of Health Research (DHR), New Delhi.

It was a long journey to advance indigenous diagnostic technologies for diagnosis of tuberculosis and MDR/XDR-TB.

Truenat is already accepted for use under the NTEP (National TB Elimination Program) in India.

"Endorsement of Truenat by WHO will enable other low-and middle-income countries to procure Truenat for diagnosis of tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance, thus supporting tuberculosis elimination in developing countries," the statement quoting Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR and Director General - ICMR said.

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