U.S. to provide Xpert diagnostics to TB-afflicted nations

The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief recently announced that it would spend $11 million to provide additional Xpert MTB/RIF tuberculosis assays and 450,000 test cartridges for 14 high-burden countries.

The Xpert assay is a fully automated test kit that can detect TB infection and mutations associated with resistance in under two hours. The test is more sensitive for detecting TB than conventional TB sputum-smear microscopy and many times faster.

PEPFAR said that its support would be instituted through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The aid is to be targeted towards countries with high rates of TB/HIV co-infection. A portion of the funding will help to train healthcare workers how to use the device and support the ability of ministries of health to integrate its usage into national TB strategies.

"The roll out of Xpert MTB/RIF has brought us to the cusp of a revolution in TB diagnosis," U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby said. "As a clinician, I am thrilled about the promise of this technology to bring a rapid diagnostic closer to patients. Tackling TB/HIV co-infection is a high priority for PEPFAR and this funding plus up for Xpert MTB/RIF reflects that commitment."

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U.S. Agency for International Development 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20004

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