A Novel Diagnostic Assay for the Detection of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
One in three humans currently living on earth are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. This number is astonishing and underscores our ever-increasing need for accurate and efficient tuberculosis diagnostics. This is especially true for the US military wherein troops are serving in areas around the world that have high tuberculosis incidence rates. While there are a good number of diagnostic assays available, including radiography, microscopy, cell culturing, PCR and immunological tests, most of these are expensive, time-consuming and require sophisticated instruments and trained personnel to interpret results. We propose to develop a portable, robust, user-friendly and inexpensive diagnostic assay for tuberculosis. We will identify high affinity ligands that directly detect M. tuberculosis cells. These ligands will be affinity matured and will progress to the second Phase of this Tuberculosis Diagnostic program. In Phase II, we will perform M. tuberculosis whole-cell binding assays to examine the utility of each of the ligands selected for our diagnostic assay. Phase II will also include the development of a prototype instrument for the diagnosis of tuberculosis.
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