With the Primo Star iLED, Carl
Zeiss is introducing a new fluorescence microscope which enables the fast
and reliable detection of tuberculosis. Together with FIND, the Foundation for
Innovative New Diagnostics, which co-developed the microscope, the optics company
will be presenting the system at the 39th World Union Conference on Lung Health
in Paris from 17 to 20 October 2008.
Carl Zeiss will supply the product at a particularly favorable price to the
public health sector of the 22 high TB-burden countries. According to the World
Health Organization (WHO), these countries account for 80 percent of all global
Fluorescence microscopy is known to be up to 4 times faster than traditional
brightfield microscopy for tuberculosis, and published studies are reporting
10% more sensitive detection. The Primo Star iLED offers these advantages of
fluorescence microscopy, but in an inexpensive and rugged format.
Easy switching between fluorescence and brightfield microscopy makes the microscope
suitable for all simple laboratory and routine applications. Thus, other infectious
diseases such as malaria can also be detected.
One special feature of the microscope is that the fluorescence is excited with
an energy-saving LED. Compared to traditional fluorescence excitation by mercury
lamps, a LED has a very long lifetime, is inexpensive and energy-saving. In
the event of power fluctuations or failure, the microscope can be battery-operated
for several hours. Primo Star iLED with reflected light fluorescence illumination
offers a significantly better signal-to-noise ratio and completely eliminates
the risk of glare. The microscope is extremely robust and easy to use. “Fluorescence
microscopy has been one of the core competencies of Carl Zeiss for the past
100 years. We are very proud to be able to contribute to the global fight against
tuberculosis with this know-how," says Dr. Bernhard Ohnesorge, Vice President
and General Manager of Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH.
“We are pleased that our collaboration with Carl Zeiss enables us to
provide the fluorescence microscope to low resource countries at a favorable
price,” says Dr. Giorgio Roscigno, Chief Executive Officer of FIND. Based
in Geneva, the Swiss-based Foundation supports the development and introduction
of new and affordable diagnostic products to combat infectious diseases in developing
Today, tuberculosis, along with HIV and malaria, tops the statistics of fatal
infectious diseases. In view of the development of multi-resistant strains and
HIV co-infection, the WHO estimates that tuberculosis will cause 30 million
deaths in the next ten years. Today, already one in three persons is infected
with the tuberculosis bacterium.