From three weeks to two hours. The “Victor Babeș” hospital has four devices that quickly detect tuberculosis

GeneXpert is a modern molecular biology technique used for the rapid and accurate diagnosis of various types of infections.

Four of these ultra-modern devices are owned by the “Dr. Victor Babes” analysis laboratory in Timisoara. The system is the only fully automated, self-contained molecular testing method.

Univ. Assoc. Dr. Elena Hogea, head of the healthcare company’s medical analysis laboratory, explained that the GeneXpert MTB/RIF system is a rapid screening method for the MTB complex, the microorganism that causes tuberculosis, but also for resistance to rifampicin, an antibiotic used to treat this disease.

“Basically, we are talking about a quick and accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis, including multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, in less than two hours. For comparison, with the methods so far, traditional methods, the result was obtained only after 21 days. GeneXpert It is based on a semi-quantitative RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) amplification technique of tuberculosis bacillus DNA. This method offers high specificity and sensitivity for the diagnosis of tuberculosis,” says the university associate . Dr Elena Hogea.

Biological samples of the patient, sputum and various other pathological products (pleural fluid, bronchial aspirate, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, bone fragment, ganglion fragment, gastric lavage) are used for identification.

According to the Babeș doctors, the advantages of this device are related to the extremely short time required to obtain the result, the possibility of testing close to the point of care, the greater sensitivity, but also the high specificity and the low risk of contamination. Furthermore, the system is very easy to use. The device is calibrated annually, so that it cannot give errors.

“We are talking about a test that can be considered simple and robust enough to be introduced and used in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. In the classic version, the usual laboratory tests, microscopy, culture, were used, which required a lot of time. Furthermore, the device can be also used for rapid determination of viral load.For example, for HIV, the machine needs 90 minutes, and for hepatitis B and C, about one hour.At the same time, the technique can also be used for the rapid and efficient determination of certain microorganisms, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, HPV or Clostridium difficile,” says the university professor. Dr. Elena Hogea, head of the medical analysis laboratory of the Hospital for Infectious Diseases.

Two of the systems in the health unit’s laboratory are used to diagnose tuberculosis and resistance to the main antibiotic used in the treatment of tuberculosis, and the other two to determine the burden of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

According to the World Health Organization, more than nine million new cases of tuberculosis are diagnosed each year and the number of deaths is almost two million.

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