Mar 1, 2024

‘This is my calling’: building point-of-care diagnostic tools to fight tuberculosis

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Inside her small office, with a window overlooking the iconic Kerckhoff Hall student centre at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), chemical biologist Mireille Kamariza is pursuing her big dream. Since 2015, she has steadily worked to stop transmission of deadly tuberculosis (TB) superbugs, which in 2022 infected more than 10 million people and killed more than one million.

As a PhD student working with Nobel laureate Carolyn Bertozzi, now a chemist at Stanford University in California, she developed a fluorescent diagnostic test that could be used for quick detection of TB, especially in resource-poor settings. In 2019, alongside Bertozzi, Kamariza founded the biotech start-up company OliLux Biosciences, based in Los Angeles, to develop reliable tools for detecting TB that are tailored to the complex needs of poorer countries. Nature sat down with Kamariza to talk about her progress in testing these diagnostic tools for use in the real world, and the uphill battle in fighting the spread of TB.

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