New test speeds up tuberculosis diagnosis in Nunavut

It is nice to see this type of technology being put where the need is greatest (and what does it say about Canada that our First Nations folks have the greatest need) but I'm amazed that its taken to long for in-situ testing.

Traditionally, people who are suspected of having active tuberculosis are asked to produce a sample of sputum, mucus coughed up from the lungs. A smear microscopy test involves looking for TB bacteria under a microscope. The best test is a culture that involves trying to grow bacteria from the sputum sample but Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes the disease, grows very slowly.

The new test looks for the DNA of the bacteria in the sputum sample