The Xpert MTB/RIF
WHAT IS IT ?
It is a new fully automated diagnostic molecular test for tuberculosis and has the potential to revolutionize and transform TB care and control.
THE TEST –
1. Simultaneously detects TB and rifampicin drug resistance.
2. Provides accurate results in less than two hours so that patients can be offered proper treatment on the same day.
3.Has as minimal bio-safety requirements, training, and can be housed in non-conventional laboratories.
4.This would reduce the cost on conventional machines which are expensive and not reliable.
6.Would help in reduction of improper treatment and deter more MDR-TB cases.
RELEVANCE FOR INDIA–
1.TACKLING THE TB BURDEN– According to WHO statistics, India has the largest number of TB patients in the world. With an estimated economic loss of $100 million annually, any measure to help treat the disease will be more than welcome in India.
2. HEALTH CARE COSTS– The new diagnostic tool comes as a boon for the millions of poor in India who can ill-afford the pricey tests. Better and timely results would help in the patients as opposed to conventional diagnostic tests which are more prone to human error and time consuming.
3.A HEALTHY DEMOGRAPHY -would help India reap the benefits of an active demographic dividend and concentrate on strengthening other social areas as well
WAY AHEAD —
The Governments can further help reduce the cost of this test by waiving the custom duty on categorizing it under the “life saving drug & products” which can save thousands of deaths caused due to the disease.