University of Edinburgh leads the way on TB diagnostics
The University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry is leading the way on the paradigm changing, €4.5M project to improve the rapid diagnosis of Tuberculosis.
ARREST-TB (Accurate, Rapid, Robust and Economical diagnostic Technologies for Tuberculosis) is co-led by the University of Edinburgh, School of Chemistry and will focus on the development of affordable diagnostic technologies for Tuberculosis (TB).
The project involves a consortium of European academics from the UK (University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt University), Italy (University of Padova), and SMEs (DestiNA Genomics and Genetic Analysis Strategies, based in Spain and Optoi in Italy).
ARREST-TB is funded by the EU Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, the Indian Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
TB is a major public health threat globally and is the leading cause of deaths from infectious diseases. With an estimated 10.4 million new cases every year, prompt and precise diagnosis coupled with contact tracing is critical for timely and accurate treatment of TB and limiting its propagation. Transnational partnerships with the pooling of resources, knowledge and experience is vital to tackle this public health emergency.
Professor Mark Bradley (University of Edinburgh) provides the scientific leadership and global mentorship of the project, with Dr Seshasailam Venkateswaran, also from the School of Chemistry, coordinating the world-wide consortium.
The ARREST-TB team plans to develop a suite of TB diagnostics solutions, working closely with, and conducting clinical evaluation/validation studies in high TB burden countries including Russia and India, working with Central Tuberculosis Research Institute, Moscow, National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai and Shanmukha Innovations in India.
The project brings together routine users of current TB diagnostics with clinicians, biologists, chemists, physicists and engineers with the skills to design, build and integrate new tools and technologies.
Developing solutions for resource-poor settings
ARREST-TB will develop technologies that are economically viable in resource poor settings, with the whole project driven by practical need and local resourcing constraints.
The team will work on identifying solutions that require negligible initial implementation costs, minimal training and expertise for operation, and significantly lower running costs than current detection technologies.
In particular the team will utilise a revolutionary DNA profiling technology and “no wash” optical labelling of patient sputum, with a focus on deployment in primary care and low resource settings.
The vision is to remove the need for centralised facilities and offering remote primary care diagnosis coupled with telemetry for cloud based notification ensuring public health and surveillance interventions.
The core technology deliverables will include:
Rapid screening of TB infection
Rapid molecular profiling of drug resistance
Biomarkers for early diagnosis and assessing treatment response
Tackling drug resistant TB
These new tests will allow rapid detection of TB/Multi-drug resistant-TB with the use of a mobile app to interpret results, log details of the location, as well as transmitting the data to the cloud for collation and reporting.
A key goal is to help reduce under-reporting of TB cases, track treatment outcomes as well as identifying TB hot spots, thereby assisting in the determination of clusters of transmission to target public health interventions.
Contact Dr Seshasailam Venkateswaran for more information about the project.