Cepheid, Sunnyvale, Calif, recently signed a memorandum of understanding representing its intention to work with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in support of the White House’s national action plan for combating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). A collaborative agreement containing specific details is expected to follow.

The national action plan calls for aggressive interventions to diagnose and treat MDR-TB so that by 2020, 50% of patients with MDR-TB in the countries with the highest burdens will be correctly diagnosed and treated. In order to reach this target, the plan intends to accelerate detection by scaling up proven technologies and supporting continued innovation.

Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID .

Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID .

“USAID is proud to partner with Cepheid in the global fight against TB,” says Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID assistant administrator for global health. “As a result of Cepheid’s leadership in developing and rolling out innovative TB diagnostic techniques, people with TB or MDR-TB can now get an accurate diagnosis and start taking life-saving medicines within just a few hours, rather than having to wait weeks for their test results. This innovation will dramatically increase our ability to save lives and bring us closer to our goal of creating a TB-free world.”

Photo Bishop_John

John Bishop, Cepheid.

“Since World Health Organization endorsement of the Xpert MTB/RIF test [for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and resistance to rifampin] in December of 2010, Cepheid has delivered more than 4,000 GeneXpert systems and shipped more than 15 million test cartridges to the countries most affected by a treatable condition that continues to cause more than a million deaths each year,” says John Bishop, chairman and CEO at Cepheid. “Cepheid is proud to be a leading innovator in molecular tuberculosis testing, and we look forward to partnering with USAID and others to implement the White House plan.”

The company expects to introduce a portable, battery-operated, and wireless GeneXpert Omni later this year, Bishop says, adding that it “is expected to enable laboratory-quality molecular diagnostics to be deployed even closer to patients in resource-limited areas. With innovations like these, the global community has the opportunity, for the first time, to coordinate access to precision medicine strategies enabling achievement of the 2020 goals.”

For more information, visit Cepheid.