Even if it attracts very little attention in industrialized countries these days, tuberculosis is the world's most common, treatable fatal infectious disease – one in three people are infected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it accounts for about 1.5 million fatalities a year, other sources estimate as many as 3 million. Even In Germany, about 5,000 new cases and several hundred deaths are registered every year.
To allow easier detection of the pathogens causing the disease, Carl Zeiss and FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) have jointly developed an efficient, robust and easy-to-use fluorescence microscope. Primo Star iLED enables the detection of tuberculosis up to four times faster and almost ten percent more accurately than with traditional brightfield microscopy.
Carl Zeiss is already offering the microscope at a favorable price to 74 countries. These regions have a tuberculosis rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a below-average gross domestic product. The company is also a member of the “Stop TB” initiative which is aimed at achieving a world free of tuberculosis. This would eliminate not only the most dangerous, but also the oldest curable infectious disease. Tuberculosis pathogens have been discovered in bones dating back 9,000 years.
March 24, 2010