Tuberculosis or TB can now be detected readily at the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute’s (DLSHSI) Center for Tuberculosis Research through the machine Gene Xpert. The machine allows for a rapid detection of Rifampicin-resistant TB in sputum in approximately two hours as opposed to the conventional solid media culture which takes up to two months.
Immediate identification of this strain allows prompt management of the patient and enrollment in the Global Fund for AIDS, TB & Malaria’s (GFATM) global program on the management of multi-drug resistant TB. It also means less chances of transmission in the community. Aside from its speed, the Gene Xpert machine was also cited for its minimal hazard to the health worker and the environment and for its being “user-friendly”, since it requires very minimal training for its operator.
Its availability at DLSHSI also means enhanced accessibility to quality care and management for TB patients in Region IV-A.
The machine was officially endorsed by WHO in December 2010 and the one at DLSHSI is only one of the seven machines donated by GFATM to the country. DLSHSI is a recipient because it has been chosen as one of the partners of GFATM in the country in its fight against TB.