Carl Zeiss microscope delivers faster detection of TB

December 2, 2008: Carl Zeiss‘ Primo Star iLED fluorescence microscope detects tuberculosis pathogens four times faster and with 10 percent more sensitivity than traditional brightfield microscopes whilst offering a rugged, inexpensive and energy-efficient format, especially useful for field clinics. Key to the performance is the integration of an energy saving LED light source into the Zeiss optics.

“Using LED technology has enabled us to package the speed and sensitivity benefits of fluorescence microscopy into a more robust and cost-effective product to help in the global fight against tuberculosis,” explains Audrey Lambert, Carl Zeiss UK.

Co-developed with FIND, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, the Primo Star iLED offers easy switching between fluorescence and brightfield modes, making it suitable for all simple laboratory and routine applications. The microscope is very sturdy and can be battery-operated for several hours in the event of power failure, a common occurrence in many of the countries where TB is prevalent. With reflected light fluorescence illumination, the product offers a significantly better signal-to-noise ratio and completely eliminates the risk of glare.

The new microscope was previewed at the 39th World Union Conference on Lung Health in Paris last month. With one in three persons already infected with the tuberculosis bacterium, and the emergence of multi-resistant strains and HIV co-infection, the WHO estimates that the disease will cause 30 million deaths in the next ten years.

“The Primo Star iLED was developed specifically to help low resource countries, in particular the public health sector of the 22 high TB-burden countries,” continues Lambert, “and will be supplied to these countries through FIND at a very favorable price as part of our commitment to alleviating unnecessary suffering.”


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