Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is an extremely dangerous and ubiquitous bacterium. This presentation describes new technology for rapid detection of Mtb with the use of nanotechnology. With the significant morbidity that is associated with tuberculosis its infectivity, it is imperative that quicker detection be available.  Therein lies the opportunity for magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) to detect tuberculosis in patients quickly and at an estimated cost of USD 0.05 per test.

Dhulikhel Hospital partnered with the Michigan State University USA, to collect a total of 390 sputum samples. The aggregation of Mtb to the MNPs aids in the efficiency and accuracy of microscopic identification. Sputum samples were obtained from patients suspected of TB based on a thorough history and physical exam.

The use of MNPs in attempting to detect Mtb yielded a sensitivity of 100 % and specificity of 100%. Microscopy with the use of Ziehl- Nielsen staining yielded a sensitivity of 60% and specificity of 42%

Our study has shown substantial improvement in the sensitivity and specificity of the detection of Tuberculosis. This is an important for the fields of public health, medicine, and biodefense.  Nano technology opens the door for a reliable screening method for TB with the possibility for uses in various clinical settings with a wide range of available resources.

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