KUALA LUMPUR – A team of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has succeeded in creating two innovations – TB Strip and TB Reader – to screen and detect tuberculosis (TB) faster to facilitate early treatment of the disease.
It only takes the TB Reader about two hours to analyse a sputum sample and detect the presence of the TB-causing bacteria even if the bacterial content is very low. The TB Strip, meanwhile, needs a mere 10 to 15 minutes to detect the bacteria even though it is not as sensitive as the TB Reader.
TB is a contagious infection caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which usually attacks the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body.
The conventional diagnostic tools to detect TB require much more time to diagnose the disease. For example, the Mantoux test takes about 72 hours to determine if a person is infected with the TB bacteria while the culture test requires a minimum of four weeks.
Among the conventional tests, the acid-fast bacilli test is the most rapid but it produces a high rate of false-negative results.
Prof Dr Nor Azah Yusof, who heads the UPM research team, said the two innovations can not only be used to screen samples and detect the presence of TB more rapidly and comprehensively but are also practical, user-friendly and cost-effective.
“We view our innovations as adding value to the standard (TB) detection methods currently being used by hospitals and laboratories,” she told Bernama, adding that the TB Reader and TB Strip are only meant for screening purposes before a more detailed examination is carried out in the hospital.
Nor Azah, who is a lecturer at the Chemistry Department in the Faculty of Science, UPM, said the reader and the strip use an antigen test method to detect the protein released by Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a sputum (a mixture of saliva and phlegm) sample.
According to her, the study on the two innovations is currently at an advanced clinical stage and that they would have to be approved by the Medical Device Authority under the Ministry of Health (MOH) before they can be marketed.
She said the first stage of the clinical study on the TB Reader had attained 70 percent efficacy. As for the TB strip, the clinical trials only started in August last year.
UPM’s study on the TB Strip started five years ago in collaboration with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan and MOH’s Institute of Respiratory Medicine.
The TB Reader, meanwhile, was first developed by UPM five years ago in collaboration with USM Kubang Kerian and Universiti Malaysia Perlis, as well as Sabah Tuberculosis Prevention Association, NanoMalaysia Bhd, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
AMONG TOP 10 CAUSES OF DEATH
Meanwhile, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data, TB is the leading killer of people with HIV and a major cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance.
Globally, TB is among the 10 leading causes of death and in 2019 alone, a total of 1.4 million deaths due to TB were recorded worldwide. The figure included 208,000 people with HIV.
According to the MOH website, Malaysia recorded 26,352 TB cases in 2019 (prevalence rate of 81 per 100,000 population), which was two percent higher than the 25,837 cases recorded in 2018 (prevalence rate of 79 per 100,000 population).
While in most cases TB is treatable, sometimes multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can occur when the bacteria become resistant to the drugs used to treat the disease. This means that the drugs can no longer kill the TB bacteria.
Health experts have voiced their concern over the yearly increase in the number of MDR-TB cases reported in Malaysia.
UPM Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences lecturer Dr Ummi Nadira Daut said the issue of drug resistance among TB patients would have serious implications on the lives and health of the people if it is not addressed properly.
She said society has to be educated on the danger of MDR-TB and work together to curb the spread of the disease within the community which is happening in Malaysia now.
“Every patient should also be given counselling with regard to medicine compliance. This is because non-adherence to treatment will increase the risk of MDR-TB which will complicate the healing process,” said Ummi Nadira, who is also a pulmonologist.
She said MDR-TB occurs when a TB patient develops resistance to the two most potent TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin. Such cases will result in longer treatment periods and higher costs.
She said a total of 352 MDR-TB cases were notified in Malaysia in 2018 with an addition of 182 new cases compared to the previously treated 170 MDR-TB cases.
She said MOH is making continuous efforts to conduct more studies on various aspects of TB such as surveillance, screening, diagnosis and treatment to ensure that the nation succeeds in attaining its zero-TB target by 2035 set under its National TB Control programme.
“Government hospitals are also adding facilities such as Gene Xpert to speed up the diagnosis of MDR-TB to facilitate early treatment,” she added.
(Video) Lucky Them! These States Lifted Up Most Covid-19 Restrictions After Achieving Vaccination Milestones
California and also New York are the two states that imposed strict COVID-19 measures throughout the pandemic and also were among the hardest hit have recently lifted most restrictions on the 15th of June to much fanfare. They had lifted virtually all coronavirus restrictions on businesses and social gatherings as both states hit milestones in vaccinating their residents.
Most states have lifted all or most of their COVID-19 restrictions, with remaining measures typically involving mask use for unvaccinated residents. Among those states that haven’t yet, Washington is set to lift all restrictions by the 30th of June and Maryland and Michigan by the 1st of July. New Mexico is set to end restrictions by the 1st of July.
@newyorkbucketlistNew York has lifted all COVID restrictions! Thank you to all of our heroes ❤️ Shot on a @flynyon 🚁 tonight by Bucket Listers
In New York, where 70 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the order from Governor Andrew Cuomo means that restaurants will no longer be forced to space tables 6 feet apart, movie theatres will be allowed to pack their auditoriums without spacing seats apart and entrance to commercial buildings would not require a temperature check.
In California, the most populous state and the first to implement a stay-at-home order, that meant the end of a county-level, color-coded system that guided capacity limits and other mitigation measures. Venues, restaurants, and bars can now operate at 100% capacity, indoors and out.
Even with the restrictions lifted, California and New York residents should still expect to see some signs of pandemic life. Both states will still abide by mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has advised that unvaccinated people should wear masks indoors and maintain social distancing.
(Video) KKM Now Dabbles In TikTok To Share Health Info
TikTok is undeniably one of the most used social media platforms by many people in this whole wide world nowadays. This is because this particular well-known platform is so user-friendly and also any news easily goes viral for everyone. Recently, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (KKM) also has decided to dabble in using TikTok for beneficial purposes.
Other than Facebook and also Instagram, the Ministry of Health Malaysia has set up its own TikTok account. In the TikTok social media platform, the Ministry of Health Malaysia has shared a lot of information about health with all of its followers. The platform also shares the latest developments on COVID-19 here in Malaysia.
@kkmputrajayaRahsia dan khasiat pegaga yang perlu anda tahu. ##HealthCheck ##gayahidupsihat ##healthyfood♬ She Share Story – Shayne Orok
A lot of netizens online supported and praised this amazing effort that was done by the Ministry of Health Malaysia. Hopefully, with this particular effort, many people all over Malaysia could get the correct information on health and also the current news regarding the COVID-19 situation.
@kkmputrajayaAnda mengalami haid tidak teratur? Mungkin ini puncanya. ##HealthCheck ##gayahidupsihat ##healthylifestyle
Sources: TikTok Ministry of Health Malaysia.
Parents Seek Help For 11-Month-Old Baby With Heart Disease
IPOH, June 15 — It has been a struggle for survival for a married couple here, who currently has no source of income due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Julia Mohd Ali, 34, who suffers from spinal cord disease, said she used to work as a security guard, but was forced to quit her job in last March as her health deteriorated.
The mother of five said life gets hard for her family after her husband Mohamad Syamrezlan Misak, 22, a contract labourer, could not go to work due to the implementation of the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) in Manjoi, from June 6 to 19.
To make matters worse for the couple, they have to take care of their two children who have health conditions and require help as well as treatment.
“I have four children from my previous marriage. Three of them live with my ex-husband, while my eldest son Nor Aiman Fitri, 16, who has Dyslexia and learning disabilities is currently under my care,” she said when met by Bernama at his rented house in Kampung Tengku Hussein, Manjoi.
Julia said her child from the current marriage, Raisha Aleeya, 11 months, was diagnosed with clogged arteries three months ago.
“Every six weeks, I have to take my baby who also suffers from epilepsy to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital for examination. She is also scheduled to undergo a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan this August,” she said.
Despite the hardship, Julia said she was very grateful for the concern demonstrated by a non-governmental organisation which has agreed to help her in paying the house rental which costs her RM300 a month for three months.
Meanwhile, Kinta district Social Welfare officer Shamsudin Osman said the Social Welfare Department (JKM) would look at the suitable assistance that could be channelled to the family.
“We will visit them to provide the food box aid. We will provide the necessary assistance to the family accoding to their needs,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
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