Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Steven Casper

Reader 2

Marion Preest

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Rights Information

© 2014 Inna Tounkel


Tuberculosis is one of the deadliest communicable diseases in the world, and consequently remains one of the biggest global healthcare challenges. Tuberculosis is treatable and curable. However, within many low resource settings, underdeveloped medical infrastructure limits the effectiveness and accuracy of existing diagnostics. These limitations severely impede the timely diagnosis of the disease, and thus contribute to the disease spreading, developing drug resistance, and killing more individuals. There is an urgent need for an inexpensive, portable, rapid, easy-to-use point of care diagnostic that can function outside of the laboratory at the community level. Currently, there is a wide range of available tuberculosis diagnostics ranging from sputum smear microscopy to nucleic acid amplification tests. Yet, none have met every standard of the ideal point of care diagnostic. Since the World Health Organization’s endorsement of Xpert MTB/RIF in 2010, there has been a resurgence of interest in point of care diagnostic development. This investigation reviewed diagnostic development projects funded by the National Institutes of Health in 2008 and 2014 in order to examine the technologies being developed, how researchers in industrial and academic sectors are addressing this problem, and what challenges still need to be overcome. More projects in 2014 were expected to rely on sample types other than sputum and be funded than those in 2008. The results of this investigation confirm this hypothesis, and that the development of a point of care device is a multi-faceted challenge with numerous underlying issues that need to be addressed before such a device can be successfully implemented.