Developing countries are in a constant battle against the ravaging effects of the tuberculosis (TB) crisis. With global migration and the highly contagious nature of tuberculosis, the disease remains a significant threat to public health in the United States (U.S.). Settling into the lungs, the spine, the kidneys and the brain, tuberculosis can be fatal without proper treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 14 million people in the U.S. are TB infected and asymptomatic – with three-quarters remaining undiagnosed – and at risk of progressing to highly contagious TB disease.
New guidelines on the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections, the cause of TB, were released by the CDC. The CDC now preferentially recommends the use of Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) blood tests, such as QuantiFERON®-TB Gold (QFT), over the 100+-year-old tuberculin skin test (TST), for diagnosing TB infection in certain populations, including people who typically do not return for the necessary reading of TST results, and those who have received Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) as a vaccine or for cancer therapy.
Additionally, data from a meta-analysis of existing literature, published April 6th in CHEST, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, demonstrate that Interferon Gamma Release Assays (IGRAs), including QFT, are superior to the previous standard in diagnostics, the 100+-year-old tuberculin skin test (TST), for detecting confirmed active TB disease.