Molecular test speeds up diagnosis of TB

Diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is often slow, especially in patients admitted to hospital. This poses risks of transmission of TB to other patients, in particular when these have HIV infection. Marcelo Cordeiro-Santos of the Foundation for Tropical Medicine investigated, together with colleagues from Brazil and AIGHD the effect of introducing a new molecular test (Xpert MTB/RIF) on the time to diagnosis among patients admitted in a HIV-specialized referral hospital in Manaus, Brazil. Test results reached the clinician quicker than with the standard method (sputum examination by microscope), although the difference was small: half a day on average. This allows patients to be started on effective treatment somewhat sooner. The real benefit in terms of infection control within the hospital will however come from the rapid identification of multidrug resistant TB that does not respond to standard therapy.


Tuberculosis Infection Control: Potential Benefit of a New Rapid Tuberculosis Test in a Human Immunodeficiency Virus/AIDS Reference Hospital

Authored by: Cordeiro-Santos M, Trajman A, Cobelens Frank, Durovni B, Gonçalves M, Bührer-Sékula S, Saraceni V
in: Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol, 2014, 35:1206-7