A large-scale study recently published in PLoS One suggests that using Xpert MTB/RIF as the first test to detect tuberculosis (TB) in India’s public health facilities may notably improve the number of cases diagnosed.
The study’s data showed that there was a significant improvement in the case notification rates of all of the TB confirmed by bacteriology. The increase amounted to 39 percent, a five-fold increase of notifications of rifampicin-resistance TB (DR-TB) case detection.
More than 100,000 patients participated in the study, which was conducted in 18 demographically and geographically diverse sites throughout India. Eight of these were rural sites, and four were in hard-to-access tribal and sparsely populated areas.
“The study underscores the potential for the use of Xpert MTB/RIF to revolutionize TB case detection in high-burden, decentralized, low-resource settings,” FIND Diagnostics' C.N. Paramasivan said. “Current test methods are too complex for routine, widespread implementation in India. With this test, health care providers can diagnose TB within 90 minutes and at the same time determine whether the patient has a form of TB that is resistant to the drug Rifampicin. The robust study data can be used to guide decisions in the scale-up of Xpert MTB/RIF.”