TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Request A Test offers TB blood test to alleviate shortage

Request A Test, a Brecksville, Ohio-based national lab testing service, announced on Tuesday that it is offering the QuantiFERON Gold blood test for tuberculosis as an alternative to skin testing during a material shortage.

Request A Test said a recent shortage of materials needed to perform TB skin tests is stopping individuals and companies from getting the TB testing they need. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends blood testing for TB as an alternative for individuals who are not able to get a skin test. QuantiFERON Gold is one of the two TB blood tests approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

TB is a bacterial disease that spreads from person to person through the air. TB infections can remain latent in an individual's body for years, which makes diagnosis on outward symptoms a challenge. Testing and subsequent treatment can identify and prevent the spread of TB.

In recent months, shortages of Apilsol and Tubersol, two antigens used in producing TB skin tests, forced many health departments to limit the availability of testing. The shortage is suspending normally requisite testing for some occupations in which there is a greater risk of spreading infectious diseases, such as correctional facility workers, healthcare workers and teachers.

Request A Test said its easy ordering process allows individuals to get lab testing without needing to schedule a doctor's appointment or get insurance provider approval. The company noted it has thousands of convenient lab locations throughout the U.S.

Request A Test said blood testing was previously shown to be just as accurate as skin testing in the detection of TB infections.