Diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), for example, by traditional methods takes weeks to even months, both to confirm the presence of the disease and to assess antibiotic susceptibilities. During this period, patients may unknowingly transmit the disease or take inappropriate, toxic antibiotics that are ineffective if the patient is infected with a drug resistant strain. In recent years, genotypic methods for identifying TB strains and predicting resistance (specifically, to the antibiotic rifampin) have begun to transform TB diagnostics. But new methods are desperately needed for rapid, sensitive diagnosis of TB infection and, especially, to provide immediate susceptibility information for multiple antibiotics to guide the rapid implementation of appropriate therapy.
The Broad is actively engaged in the development of new diagnostic approaches, including:
- Genotype-based molecular diagnostics for ultrasensitive organism identification
- Novel "semi-phenotypic" molecular diagnostics for rapid antibiotic susceptibility determination