A low cost fluorescence imaging device for rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB)


The developed device is an easy-to-use, compact and portable fluorescence imaging instrument intended for point-of-care sputum microscopy for rapid detection of Mycobacterium tuberculus (the bacteria responsible for TB disease). It acquires fluorescence images of Mycobacterium tuberculi bacteria (Mtb) from a patient’s sputum smeared on a microscope glass slide following its staining with an appropriate fluorescent dye (Auramine O). The fluorescence detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria (Mtb) is based on the fact that the rod-shaped Mtb binds with Auramine O dye to give green fluorescence when excited with blue light.

A Graphic User Interface (GUI) software enables hardware control of the device and automated counting of the Mtb bacteria in the field of view of the microscope objective. The important advantage of the device is its significantly low cost (~ 1 L) as compared to the fluorescence microscope (costing over 50 L) routinely used for TB diagnosis. This in combination with other advantages like the compactness, portability and capability of automated counting of the number of bacteria in the field of view would allow its use in a limited resource setting, particularly in remote areas thereby enabling immediate start of treatment and reduction of patient dropouts.

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