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Subspecialties Microbiology and immunology, Point of care testing, Technology and innovation, Hematology

TB Triage

Over 10 million people have active tuberculosis (ATB) globally – but laboratory testing is expensive and sputum-based testing is slow and inaccurate. After the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a greater focus on blood-based tests, a collaborative team have developed an ultrasensitive, multiplexed triage test that analyzes the levels of four proteins in the blood. With 86 percent sensitivity and 69 percent specificity, the test could become a point-of-care diagnostic that costs just US$2 and provides results in 30 minutes (1).

David Walt of the Wyss Institute hopes the test will lower the barrier to care in low-resource settings. “Once we improve the sensitivity and specificity to meet WHO standards, we will deploy the test in clinics and hospitals in the developing world before introducing it to more rural settings,” he explains. The new test can detect different strains of ATB and its results are not affected by HIV infection status.

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  1. R Ahmad et al., “A rapid triage test for active pulmonary tuberculosis in adult patients with persistent cough”, Sci Transl Med, 11, 515 (2019). PMID: 31645455.

About the Author

Luke Turner

While completing my undergraduate degree in Biology, I soon discovered that my passion and strength was for writing about science rather than working in the lab. My master’s degree in Science Communication allowed me to develop my science writing skills and I was lucky enough to come to Texere Publishing straight from University. Here I am given the opportunity to write about cutting edge research and engage with leading scientists, while also being part of a fantastic team!

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