Researchers in Oxford and Birmingham say they can isolate different strains of the disease using a process called genome sequencing.
It means patients who may have waited months to get the right drugs can now be diagnosed in just a few days – so they have a greater chance of recovery.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the breakthrough “will save lives”.
Cases of TB in the UK have begun falling recently, but England still has one of the highest rates in Europe.
The scientists who made the discovery say genome sequencing allows them to identify the DNA of different samples in little more than a week.
Culled from BBC