Biosensor-based detection of tuberculosis

Srivastava, Saurabh K.; Rijn, Cees J.M. Van; Jongsma, Maarten A.


Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb.), is one of the most prevalent and serious infectious diseases worldwide with an estimated annual global mortality of 1.4 million in 2010. Diagnosis of TB in the developing world is very challenging due to the limited suitability of currently available techniques under tropical field conditions. M. tb. is a slowly growing Mycobacterium that takes around six to eight weeks to be detected via sensitive culture methods. There is also hardly any clinical symptom at an early stage of infection, thereby causing a delay in diagnosis and treatment, and the complexity of the disease is further increased by the emergence of multiple drug resistant (MDR) strains. A lot of work has been done over the last few decades to develop effective point of care diagnostic techniques that are cheap, robust and can be performed at high throughput in rural areas. However, despite considerable technical improvements reported from the lab, such economical fool-proof diagnostic assays are still lacking on the market. The objective of this review is to evaluate currently available biosensing techniques that are either already in use or under development for detection of TB. The focus of the review is on the emerging field of diagnostic biosensors that combine ligand capture and detection in a one-step assay. A comparison will also be made with conventional multistep techniques.