Great news this week: the cost for a rapid diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) has been negotiated down to less than $10, a reduction of more than 40 percent, making it affordable for a vast number of low- and middle-income countries.
This molecular diagnostic system, developed by GeneXpert, provides rapid diagnosis of TB, TB/HIV co-infection, as well as drug-resistant TB. The Xpert MTB/RIF assay is a vast improvement over the traditional diagnosis of TB, which involves smear microscopy, lengthy wait times (often days or weeks) for sputum culture, and limited ability to diagnose drug-resistant TB. Now, with access to the Xpert assay, a patient can receive his or her diagnostic results in only two hours and immediately start appropriate treatment. Moreover, patients with cases of drug-resistant TB can be put on second-line drugs if necessary.
The significant price reduction was made possible through a public-private partnership between PEPFAR, USAID, UNITAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Working hand-in-hand, these partners from different sectors combined forces to achieve a common goal: an affordable rapid diagnostic test that can save thousands of lives. Right now, we’re only just beginning to tap into the potential of public-private partnerships to make a world of difference.
Top photo: USAID Administrator Raj Shah with anti-TB activists