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Published:July 2nd, 2008 08:53 EST
United Nations out to provide faster tests in poorer countries

United Nations out to provide faster tests in poorer countries

By Garrett Godwin

NEW YORK: Because of two new United Nations-based initiatives, inhabitants of rising nations will know whether or not they`ve been infected with multi-drug resistant tuberclosis (MDR-TB).  Originally, it would`ve taken between two and three months, and now the results can be known at two days.

Created yesterday by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the Stop TB Partnership, international drug-buying company UNITAID and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the new plan is hoping to increase the proportion to over 15 percent during the next four years.

Several TB patients in poorer countries are tested for MDR-TB.  But after they don`t respond to regular treatments, they don`t also receive important second-line drugs until their diagnosis is revealed more than two months later.

One of two projects announced yesterday was a growing molecular method called "line probe assays", in which they detect the strain in less than 48 hours.  It will be sent to countries like Bangladesh, Ethopia, Indonesia.  The second involves an increase of more drugs for treatment of MDR-TB in 54 countries, and sets out to decrease the price of second-line drugs by 20 percent in the next two years.

Source: UN News Centre (www.un.org/news)