A new tuberculosis test can improve and simplify diagnosis. The new blood test for tuberculosis is inexpensive and helps identity the gene expression that differentiates people with tuberculosis and those without it or with different stages of tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that affects 9.6 million people worldwide. It commonly impacts the lungs. Nearly 1.5 million infected people die due to the fact that it is hard to diagnose.
Senior author Purvesh Khatri said, “One-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB. Even if only 10 percent of them get active TB, that’s still 3 percent of the world’s population — 240 million people.”
Other diagnostic methods cannot distinguish between those with tuberculosis and those who have been vaccinated or are no longer sick. Additionally, traditional diagnostic methods cannot detect tuberculosis in HIV.
Another test is using sputum from a cough, but this can be difficult to obtain as many patients cannot produce sputum on demand. Furthermore, sputum testing cannot offer much insight into the response to treatment.
Not only does the new blood test eliminate the need for sputum, but it won’t give a person a positive result if they have latent tuberculosis or the vaccine. And, it can detect tuberculosis in HIV. Lastly, the blood test can help detect any strain of tuberculosis and it is effective in both children and adults.
For now, further research is required in order to get the blood test to become widespread.