UPM Researchers Invent An Innovative, Easy Method To Screen Tuberculosis | Universiti Putra Malaysia
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UPM researchers invent an innovative, easy method to screen tuberculosis

By: Azman Zakaria

Photo: Noor Azreen Awang


SERDANG, August 28 : Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) researchers have successfully created two innovations—TB Strip and TB Reader—to screen and detect tuberculosis (TB).

Leader of the research group, Prof. Dr. Nor Azah Yusof, said sputum (phlegm) was used in both innovations to filter and detect TB bacteria in a person's body.

According to her, the TB Strip method screening is done through an antigen test method by placing an individual’s sputum on the sample pad.

The sputum will then move towards the conjugate pad, which then produces two lines— the bottom line known as a test line and the top line known as the control line.

If the movement of the sputum is on the control line only, the individual is TB negative; however, if it reaches both the test line and control line, then the individual is TB positive.

"The result of whether a person is negative or positive for TB can be determined between 10 to 15 minutes using this method, and the cost for each test is about RM5,” she said.


Prof. Dr. Nor Azah who is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Science said TB Strip is meant only for screening purposes, and one can conduct a further examination at the hospital.

She added that the study to develop the TB Strip started five years ago in collaboration with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Kubang Krian, Kelantan and the Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Ministry of Health.

The innovation won a gold medal at the International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) 2019.

Meanwhile, TB Reader is an innovation to detect TB bacteria using an electrochemical method.

Prof. Dr. Nor Azah said the innovation would detect if there is a change in current from the sample tested.

According to her, the TB Reader method is more sensitive, and whether a person is TB positive or negative, is determined by the change in current.

TB Reader can be connected to a laptop or mobile phone using the Bluetooth technology. The result of the bacterial detection test, i.e. either Yes or No, will be displayed on the mobile phone screen without having to look at changes in the current.

She said the innovation uses the nanotechnology by placing nanomaterials on electrodes. This makes it more sensitive in detecting bacteria.

She said the results of the detection test could be known in about an hour and a half. The cost of the detection test is about RM20.

TB Reader was first developed five years ago in collaboration with USM Kubang Kerian and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), as well as Sabah Tuberculosis Prevention Association (SABATA).

Together with Prof. Dr. Nor Azah in the research group is Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Suraiya Md Noor, a co-researcher from USM Kubang Kerian, Associate Prof. Dr. Ammar Zakaria from UniMAP, and Umi Zulaikha Mohd Azmi and Muhammad Hafiznur Yunus who are PhD students from UPM.

The innovation won third place in the Business Health Competition 2019.

Both the TB Strip and TB Reader have been patented. The study is currently at an advanced clinical stage. - UPM

Date of Input: 02/09/2020 | Updated: 07/09/2020 | hairul_nizam


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