OSAKA -- With cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis rising around the world, Nipro plans to export a tuberculosis test kit that can quickly determine what medicine would be effective in treating the disease.
The Japanese company's kit can produce test results in about a day, compared with a month for conventional products. And it can be used without the need for clean rooms or other large facilities.
About 9 million people suffer from tuberculosis worldwide, and estimates put the death toll from the infectious disease at more than 1 million every year. In recent years, the appearance of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis has resulted in deaths even in industrialized nations, raising demand for test kits.
Nipro decided to market its product abroad now that the kit's effectiveness has been confirmed by the Switzerland-based Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, which is funded by the European Union and others.
The company plans to introduce the kits in Thailand in June, then release them in South Africa, Uganda and other emerging countries. It also intends to sell them in such industrialized nations as the U.S., Germany and Sweden. The company hopes that once recognition of the kit's effectiveness spreads, the World Health Organization will put it on its list of recommended tests for diagnosing tuberculosis, resulting in its adoption by more medical institutions.