Pulmonary Tuberculosis or simply TB is an infectious disease plaguing humanity
since time immemorial. It mainly affects lungs and is largely fatal if left untreated.
TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis - our main Antagonist. In poor and emerging countries, tuberculosis (TB) remains a major public-health risk.
HOW BAD IS IT?
Annually there are around estimated 10 Million new cases of active TB in the world. Around 1/3rd of these are not reported. India’s global share is ~30% which corresponds to 2.69 Million new active TB cases per year. Due to this, India is a high TB Burden country.
So what is the main problem here? Drug resistance is declared as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity by WHO. TB is one of the diseases where the effect of drug resistance is very prominent. A deadly form of TB called MDR-TB (Multi-Drug Resistant TB) is on the rise which is resistant to the first line antibiotics - Rifampicin and Isoniazid. Treatment for MDR-TB is difficult and usually lasts for 2 years.
Major challenge in treating MDR-TB is its early detection. Due to very little or no diagnostic facilities for MDR-TB, it mostly goes undetected leading to a loss in time before treatment. Identifying these problems, we proposed a rapid molecular diagnostic kit that can serve rural areas with limited facilities plus established hospitals can also use it for rapid diagnosis of MDR-TB. We named our diagnostic kit CODE-M.
Our kit utilizes molecular tools to detect the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in a given sample and check for drug resistance. We combined minimalistic features of LAMP amplification to amplify the target DNA using MTB-specific sequences, then use them to search for mutations by targeting SNPs in katG and rpoB genes using Cas14a1 and sgRNA complex and detecting fluorescence emission upon cleavage of FQ pair.