Microfluidics as a Novel Technique for Tuberculosis: From Diagnostics to Drug Discovery

Antonia Molloy, James Harrison, John S. McGrath, Zachary Owen, Clive Smith, Xin Liu, Xin Li, Jonathan A. G. Cox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global healthcare crisis, with an estimated 5.8 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths in 2020. TB is caused by infection with the major human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is difficult to rapidly diagnose and treat. There is an urgent need for new methods of diagnosis, sufficient in vitro models that capably mimic all physiological conditions of the infection, and high-throughput drug screening platforms. Microfluidic-based techniques provide single-cell analysis which reduces experimental time and the cost of reagents, and have been extremely useful for gaining insight into monitoring microorganisms. This review outlines the field of microfluidics and discusses the use of this novel technique so far in M. tuberculosis diagnostics, research methods, and drug discovery platforms. The practices of microfluidics have promising future applications for diagnosing and treating TB.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2330
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

This research was funded by the EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine, Grant Number EP/S02347X/1.


  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Bioengineered models
  • Diagnostics
  • Drug discovery
  • Microfluidics
  • Mycobacterium
  • Single-cell analysis
  • Tuberculosis


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