Rapid TB blood test for children is the future - Lancet Infectious Diseases
In future, a rapid and accurate tuberculosis test for children may allow the illness to be better diagnosed. The approach proved to be successful in a TB-endemic region in Tanzania, report Swiss researchers in "The Lancet Infectious Diseases".
The method developed by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel is called TAM-TB and is a sputum-independent blood test. The diagnosis is based on the immunological phenomenon during TB, when, in the course of an active infection, a specific surface marker (CD27) on mycobacteria specific CD4+ T cells is lost. The test result is available within 24 hours.
The test was carried out in real situations in two health centres in Tanzania. Children with TB symptoms were examined using standardised clinical methods and TAM-TB for the presence of an active infection. According to the scientists, the sensitivity and specificity of TAM-TB proved to be good.
"This rapid and reliable test has the great potential to significantly improve the diagnosis of active tuberculosis in children", said Klaus Reither from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, who coordinated the study. In cooperation with researchers from Munich, it is planned to refine the test further to use it in HIV-infected children and to make its application more cost-effective.
Comment: TB diagnosis is making rapid strides in the last few years. We already have commercially available sputum test (GENEXPERT) in India that helps diagnose TB & even gives information on drug resistance within a day. If this tests proves to be useful, it would be a great help in children, since sputum collection can be difficult in many kids.