<P>CULTURES Vol 1, Issue 2 ยป Page 31 In less than two hours, the GeneXpert assay identi?es if a patient has TB and if the organism is carrying a speci?c genetic marker for resistance to the TB drug rifampicin, which serves as a reliable proxy for MDR-TB. Implementation of this technology in the DPRK could be a game changer. Having the ability to rapidly screen patients and identify those sus- ceptible to traditional TB drugs and those who need special MDR therapy provides a critical tool that can signi?cantly af- fect the course of the current epidemic. The rollout of GeneX- pert technology in the DPRK can greatly impact the ability to expedite treatment for thousands of MDR-TB patients. As the program expands over the next year, increasing the capacity for GeneXpert testing will be critical. Progress with current and future laboratory developments is slow, because the DPRK laboratory faces many limitations. The project is particularly impacted by internal infrastruc- ture shortages. One of the most serious at this time is the lack of an uninterrupted supply of power to the NTRL facili- ty. Extended power outages and frequent ?uctuations a?ect culture-based diagnostics, can damage equipment, lead to spoilage of sensitive reagents and testing materials, and dis- rupt daily work?ow. Diagnostic activities are further impeded by limitations on the import of needed equipment and TB di- agnostic materials from reputable international vendors into DPRK. Often vendors are reluctant to sell the supplies need- ed for ongoing operation of the DPRK NTRL for fear of run- ning afoul of export control restrictions. The maintenance of a continuous and reliable supply chain is essential. Also, the development of a national specimen referral program has been impeded by internal logistical challenges because special permits are required for travel between regions in DPRK, transport vehicles and money for gasoline coupons are scarce, and rural road conditions are challenging. At present, the biggest impediment to program development and patient treatment is funding. Expanding diagnostic capac- ity and increasing the drug supply for MDR-TB is extremely ex- pensive. Because of current politics, there has been a decrease in the level of support from U.S. foundations and philanthropic </p> <UL><LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/1/1/">Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/2/2/">Inside-Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/3/3/">Page-1</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/4/4/">Page-2</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/5/5/">Page-3</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/6/6/">Page-4</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/7/7/">Page-5</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/8/8/">Page-6</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/9/9/">Page-7</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/643/colfslwvw/10/10/">Page-8</a></LI> <LI><a 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