Cape patients’ coughs aid in developing TB detection app

Stellenbosch University scientists are creating a mobile app that can differentiate between a cough caused by tuberculosis(TB) and coughs not related to TB.

Tuberculosis detector app

TB is a severe global infectious disease, yet numerous cases go undiagnosed, especially in low-income areas, due to outdated screening methods.

This leads to unnecessary testing of individuals who do not have TB, consuming precious resources.

According to IOL, this TB detector app is an innovation that will be used as a screening tool to determine which patient needs further testing, thereby fast-tracking the TB diagnosis process.

The cutting edge project is called  Cough Audio Triage for TB and it is conducted by researchers in the Clinical Mycobacteriology and Epidemiology Group at the Stellenbosch University’s Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, along with partners in Europe and Africa.

Daphne Naidoo, the CAGE-TB project coordinator, stated that the project will fill a crucial diagnostic gap in TB.

According to IOL, the research was initiated in 2021 on the proof-of-concept research conducted by the CAGE-TB team, revealing that TB patients exhibit a unique cough sound distinct from both healthy individuals and those with other respiratory illnesses.

Naidoo emphasised that the app’s purpose is not to diagnose TB but to assist in triage. It will screen patients to identify those most likely to have TB, prioritizing them for additional sputum tests.

According to Naidoo, the research is being conducted in two phases: discovery and validation.

World TB Day

Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) always commemorates World TB Day aims to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to increase efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

According to WHO , the 24 March is World Tuberculosis Day and marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

Every year, the WHO has a theme to celebrate the day, and this year’s theme was ‘Yes! We can end TB!’ .There is hope that with high-level leadership, increased investments, and faster uptake of new WHO recommendations, we can turn the tide against the TB epidemic and get back on track.


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