After a study by Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the most advanced multi-drug resistance tuberculosis (TB) diagnose machine installed at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) a few months ago has come under scanner.
The machine called GeneXpert was being promoted by the government of India as it was capable of providing confirmed diagnosis of multi-drug resistance tuberculosis in just 48 hours, which otherwise takes several months. Following the government scheme, a special laboratory was also set up at PGIMER in November last year.
However, as per the AIIMS study, it was found that the new GeneXpert gene test is incapable of providing accurate tests in Indian conditions.
The AIIMS study found that one out of every three samples processed in this machine gave false sensitivity to TB drug, Rifampicin, when they were originally drug-resistant.
According to experts, GeneXpert has been a revolutionary diagnostic method in Africa, but has not provided accurate results in India.
The laboratory was set up at PGIMER with active cooperation from Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), Chandigarh.
The objectives of these labs are to diagnose multi-drug resistance tuberculosis within 48 hours, which otherwise take 3-4 months by conventional methods, and simultaneously taking care to prevent laboratory acquired infection due to resistant organism among laboratory personnel while working with this dangerous pathogen.
The laboratory was aimed to serve the need of seven districts of Punjab, five districts of Haryana, and the residents of the UT.
According to experts, India has approximately 2.2 million people infected with tuberculosis. Multi-drug resistance tuberculosis incidences are increasing in India and reported to be 3 to 5% from North India.
According to PGIMER, in Chandigarh and adjoining areas, primary MDR tuberculosis is reported to be approximately 9%, and acquired drug resistance is approxiamtely17%.