A new study by the Canadian Medical Association has found the USB charger is not as effective as advertised when it comes to reducing the risk of catching tuberculosis.
The association says the test results of some new products are inconsistent with the results of its long-standing tests.
“Some tests, such as the TB tests, do not work at all, while others do not even work at a reasonable rate of effectiveness,” said Dr. John Stouffer, the association’s vice-president for research.
The study was conducted by researchers at Dalhousie University, McGill University and the University of Ottawa.
The tests measure how much time it takes to clear the respiratory passages and how long it takes for bacteria to build up in the lungs.
The results, published online by the American College of Rheumatology, found the new products tested showed an average efficacy rate of 99.5 per cent.
In other words, the products performed well at catching a higher proportion of cases, but not as well as those tests.
Stoufer says the tests are only one way to assess the effectiveness of the devices, which have been widely tested over the years.
“Our understanding of the human microbiome and its role in disease progression and disease response has changed greatly over the last couple of decades,” he said.
“These products are a great way to do that because they can be tested in a safe and non-invasive way, without any human intervention.”
The results also showed that the new devices did not reduce the likelihood of catching TB infection.
But the new tests are not yet widely available.
The Canadian Association of Rherumatology says it has been working for years to improve on the tests and develop a more reliable way to test them.
The organization says it will continue to work with Health Canada to ensure the products are tested on humans.
Stucher says the results are just the first step.
He says testing for tuberculosis is a key component of any plan to combat the disease, which kills more than 10,000 people every year.
The new devices also have a few disadvantages.
“It’s a bit like wearing a helmet,” said Stouyer.
“You can be wearing it, but you can’t really wear it because of the way it is constructed.
So that’s why it’s really important to have a device that’s really easy to wear.”
The new tests also show that some products tested had higher rates of false positives than the tests used for the long-term studies.
This is especially important because many TB tests use a process known as PCR, which tests for the presence of certain genes that are not present in healthy people.
“There are also some products that are really sensitive to the presence and/or absence of certain strains of bacteria,” said Michael Raffi, a microbiologist and director of research at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research at the University the Montreal.
He said the results indicate that some of these products might not be as effective at catching TB as they are advertised.
“They are definitely not as helpful as they should be,” said Raffis.
The CMA is now working to improve the tests so they can detect other bacteria as well.
The research was funded by the federal government, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Science Foundation.