The Molecular bacterial load assay at Public Health England (PHE), Porton Down, Salisbury

Dr. Wilber Sabiiti spent several days with the Porton Down PHE tuberculosis (TB) research team training them and optimising their Real-time PCR platform QuantiStudio TM Vii 6 and 7 Flex to perform Molecular bacterial load assay (MBLA).  MBLA is a rapid test that quantifies the amount of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli directly in patient sample.  The assay was developed and optimised to detect and quantify TB in sputum samples.  The good news is that the assay is applicable to different sample types and the Porton Down team is demonstrating this by applying it to tissues from a Guinea pig model of pulmonary tuberculosis whilst our colleagues in Vietnam are trialling the assay on cerebral spinal fluid from TB meningitis patients.

Working with the PHE Porton Down team was fun because the team is made of highly skilled scientists very keen to implementing new cutting technologies.  The training involved how to extract RNA for MBLA, setting up and running the qPCR and, analysis of results.  We are successful on all the training aspects with very good PCR results, thanks to the brilliant team.