The test, which uses DNA technology to diagnose tuberculosis in less than two hours, will be widely distributed to countries around the world. WHO says the new test “represents new hope for the millions of people who are at the highest risk of TB and drug-resistant disease.”
The testing technology that it replaces, which is 125 years old, is far less reliable and requires three months to produce a diagnosis. The quicker and more accurate diagnoses produced by Dr. Alland’s test will allow healthcare providers to begin tuberculosis treatment far sooner, sharply reducing the risk that infected individuals will spread the disease to others. It also will lead to more effective treatment of individual patients by telling clinicians whether disease-causing bacteria are drug-resistant.
Dr. Alland began work on the screening test, which is called Xpert MTB/RIF (Mycobacterium tuberculosis/resistance to rifampin), more than a decade ago. The test took four years to develop, followed by the process of attracting funding to refine and manufacture it and then conducting the clinical trials that established its effectiveness. Financial support has come from the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Alland’s collaborators have been Cepheid, Inc., and FIND, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.
WHO’s endorsement of the test has been applauded by public health agencies including the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is proud to be the home of Dr. Alland’s research, and congratulates him for his achievement.
Journalists interested in interviewing Dr. Alland should contact Rob Forman, UMDNJ Chief of News Services, at 973-972-7276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 6,000 students attending the state’s three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.