Israeli company develops faster, more comprehensive tuberculosis test, While current tests take days to return results & determine antibiotic resistance very slowly, BATM’s new test returns results and identifies the strain’s resistance to antibiotics within 2 hours.
Israeli tech company BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. announced on Monday that they have received full funding to develop a new rapid molecular diagnostics test for Tuberculosis (TB), which is expected to begin its testing and validation phases in the second half of 2021.
Israeli company develops faster, more comprehensive tuberculosis test
The testing and validation phases will be fully funded by Stop TB Partnership, an international alliance which is comprised of over governmental and non-governmental organisations in more than 100 countries, all dedicated to eliminating the disease.
While current gold standard tests take days to return results and have issues determining antibiotic resistance, BATM’s new test returns results within approximately two hours, identifying the strain and its resistance to antibiotics.
It does this using a combination of a one-step PCR test, developed by BATM subsidiary Adaltis, with a NATlab instrument, which uses a new isothermal RCA process developed by BATM’s associate company, Ador Diagnostics.
The testing and validation of the test will take place at the University of Heidelberg, with BATM anticipating it will officially begin selling them next year.
BATM CEO Dr. Zvi Marom said the company was delighted about the new testing method and the funding and research announcements, saying they believe it “will be particularly crucial in preventing the spread of drug-resistant TB strains.”
“We also expect our solution to be more affordable and accessible than those used today,” he said.
Dr. Marom elaborated, saying that “The devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB have been with us for centuries and are still here today. It is vital that we develop innovative solutions and systems that will enable this disease, which is a leading cause of death but is both preventable and curable, to be eradicated.”
He said that advances in molecular diagnostics have caused science to enter “a new era in the fight against infectious diseases.”
“I believe that BATM has an important role to play in this as we focus on developing new, innovative technologies while continuing to provide critical solutions to combat COVID-19,” he concluded.
TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and the leading (non-pandemic) cause from a single infectious agent The WHO estimates that around three million cases go undiagnosed each year.
Drug-resistance, which can emerge through the prescription of incorrect treatment, in TB is an increasing public health issue and a health security threat. TB can also cause other severe illnesses, such as meningitis, and can be an early indicator for HIV infection.
However, “with rapid and accurate diagnosis,” BATM says, “TB is preventable, treatable and curable in most cases.”