TB test shown to be fast and effective

A study recently published in the Lancet has shown that the Cepheid Xpert MTB/RIF test for tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance is fast and effective in realistic healthcare field conditions and low-resource settings.

The test, which uses a rapid genotypic detection of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, was found to be highly sensitive at diagnosing TB in both smear-positive and smear-negative, culture-positive individuals, including the detection of rifampicin resistance. The test compared favorably with the routine diagnostic algorithm for detecting TB, according to MTB Europe.

The preliminary results of the study provided a major portion of a report submitted to the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis, which endorsed the use of the GeneXpert test, a cartridge-based, automated diagnostic method. The data from the study will contribute to the possibility of rolling out the test, which will be decided by the National Health Laboratory Service of South Africa.

The test was conducted in sites in South Africa, Azerbaijan, India, Uganda, Peru and the Philippines. The study was founded by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, the EDCTP, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust, MTB Europe reports.

Prof. Mark Nicol of the University of Cape Town, one of the study's authors, is a European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership Senior Fellow. The organization, created in 2003, targets the global health crisis caused by the three main poverty-related diseases of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, MTB Europe reports.

The EDCTP is a partnership between 14 European Union member states, Norway and Switzerland and 47 sub-Saharan African countries.