Advances in the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis

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Guadalupe García Elorriaga, PhD Guillermo del Rey Pineda, PhD


Despite the advances made in the past 30 years in the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), only a small portion of the overall world population has benefitted. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) to detect TB instead of smear microscopy, since they can detect TB with greater precision, particularly in patients with paucibacillary disease and in individuals living with HIV. A broad range of molecular TB detection tests are currently being developed and evaluated, some for use in reference laboratories and others for peripheral medical care settings and point-of-care. There has been a surge of molecular tests designed, manufactured, and implemented in countries with a high TB load, and some are specifically meant for use in locations that are close to the patient. In terms of drug susceptibility testing, NAAT and next-generation sequencing may provide faster results than traditional phenotype culture. Further, the results of tests that detect or quantify cytokines released in the inflammatory process in latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), such as the Interferon-Gamma Release Assay (IGRA), or that quantify IL-6 or other cytokines, depend, as in the tuberculin skin tests (TST), on the prevalence of TB in the tested population. We herein review the recent advances in TB detection tests and resistance to anti-TB drugs.

Keywords: Bacteriological diagnosis, Immunological diagnosis, Molecular diagnosis

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How to Cite
ELORRIAGA, Guadalupe García; PINEDA, Guillermo del Rey. Advances in the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 1, jan. 2021. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 14 june 2024. doi:
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