Fresh hope rose last week for Nigerian Tuberculosis, TB, patients as the World Health organisation unveiled a novel rapid diagnostic test and a shorter, cheaper treatment regimen that would speed up detection and improve treatment outcomes for multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). At less than US$ 1000 (N300,000) per patient, the new treatment regimen can be completed in 9-12 months. Not only is it less expensive than current regimens, but it is also expected to improve outcomes and potentially decrease deaths due to better adherence to treatment and reduced loss to follow-up. Speaking on the new regimen, the Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme, Dr. Mario Raviglione described it as a critical step forward in tackling the MDR-TB public health crisis. “The new WHO recommendations offer hope to hundreds of thousands of MDR-TB patients who can now benefit from a test that quickly identifies eligibility for the shorter regimen, and then complete treatment in half the time and at nearly half the cost.” The conventional treatment regimens, which take 18-24 months to complete, yield low cure rates: just 50 percent on average globally. This is largely because patients find it very hard to keep taking second-line drugs, which can be quite toxic, for prolonged periods of time. The shorter regimen is recommended for patients diagnosed with uncomplicated MDR-TB, for example those individuals whose MDR-TB is not resistant to the most important drugs used to treat MDR-TB, known as “second-line drugs”. It is also recommended for individuals who have not yet been treated with second line drugs. With the new rapid diagnostic test to identify second-line drug resistance, the most reliable way to rule out resistance to second-line drugs is a newly recommended diagnostic test for use in national TB reference laboratories. The novel diagnostic test – called MTBDRsl – is a DNA-based test that identifies genetic mutations in MDR-TB strains.