Friday, March 7

Europe's TB capital

Some of you may have guessed it from the title, but I'm referring to the wonderful city I live in, London, England, named the TB capital of Europe, now who wouldn't be proud to have that title?!?!?!

Luckily researchers over at Imperial College (where all of my FLUs currently are - if you don't understand that email personally & I'll let you in, but for obvious reasons I cannot write it out on the blog) have come up with a new faster TB test, check it out here. Currently the way to test for TB is long and invasive procedure, consisting of 3 days in hospital, procedures to get sputum samples, and then growing the TB bacteria in the lab - that's what they currently call the "gold-standard" test . . . doesn't seem so gold standard to me, but I guess when it's the best you can get it's gold.

This new test will look for interferon gamma proteins being produced from immune cells from infection & not vaccination (remember until only a few months ago the UK gave the BCG vaccination to all children) which the Mantoux test (aka PPD test) cannot do.

For those of you not in the know about the TB vaccination, BCG, here is a bit more info than you actually ever wanted to know. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (Albert Calmette a French bacteriologist and Camille Guérin a French vet) is the attenuated (aka weakened but still live) bovine tuberculosis bacillus. It has lost its virulence in humans due to years of culturing in an artificial medium. It was first given to humans in 1921 and depending on geographical location and time post vaccination it can be up to 80% effective in preventing tuberculosis. It has been shown to be efficacious against tuberculous meningitis in children, but much less so against pulmonary tuberculosis. Another interesting tidbit, should you ever be in London & fancy a chat with Mr Paul Fine about it's efficacy, be sure to plan a few hours, he LOVES this topic!!

So today I'm thankful for this discovery & the fact that it's Friday :)

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3 Comments:

At 07 March, 2008 23:38, Blogger PCS said...

IFN-g produced by T cells which recognize specific epitopes from M. tuberculosis but not BCG. This is the assay the biosafety comm. is (was) using for samples at Trudeau but they had to be sent to Canada because the assay hasn't been licensed in the USA yet.

 
At 10 March, 2008 19:58, Anonymous Amanda said...

PEM Fine!!!!!

 
At 11 March, 2008 17:53, Blogger Sara said...

PCS:
why is it taking so long to license in the states?

Amanda:
Yes indead, I am speaking of mr tap my fingers 100 times on the board/wall whilst lecturing . . . bet you miss those days don't you (LMAO)

 

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