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Smart tuberculosis diagnosis using new blood test

10th July 2019

In a UK based study, a new blood test shown the potential to diagnose human tuberculosis (TB) and identify people who are at the highest risk of developing the disease.

The test namely Actiphage assay, is commercialized by PBD Biotech for the livestock industry as a blood or milk test for bovine TB and Johne’s disease, was able to positively identify TB with 73% accuracy.

In the study, 66 participants were divided into four groups: those with active pulmonary TB, those with latent TB, a control group of patients referred for suspected TB but not found diseased and a control group of healthy individuals.

Quarter of world’s population carry latent TB and 10% of these people go on to develop active form of the disease.

Actiphage assay overcomes problems that the current TB diagnostics techniques face like diagnosis cases of extrapulmonary TB and diagnosis TB in children.

Actiphage testing was done twice, 12 months apart, with 73% accuracy in people subsequently diagnosed with TB. Latent TB was diagnosed successfully and risk of development of active TB was also identified.

The assay showed great specificity as no controlled group participant was tested positive.

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