New Tuberculosis Test Is Quick, Accurate

Armen Hareyan's picture


Researchers from Imperial College London have developed a new test to detect tuberculosis quickly and accurately.

Common TB symptoms, such as fever and fatigue, are also very common for other conditions, this is why the disease is difficult to detect. Current TB tests are taking up to weeks to diagnose the disease and patients need to undergo numerous tests to complete diagnosis process. Patients need to stay at hospitals for three days to pass numerous intensive tests to give all necessary samples to complete diagnosis process.


This newly developed test called ELISpot-Plus is being used in combination with tuberculin skin test. It takes only a few days (48 hours) to complete and is 99% accurate.

Existing skin tests are often giving false results, especially in those vaccinated against TB. The new test takes only those immune cells not affected by vaccination. The test is looking for interferon-Y, which is the common protein produced as an immune response to TB infection.

If ELISpot-Plus shows positive result, a patient will still need to undergo further tests to find out if the disease is in dormant or active form.

The test was trialed in 389 patients and showed promising results. The test successfully detected 89% of disease cases. If approved, this test will be a revolution among existing TB tests. Tuberculosis needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible, and doctors will be able to start treatment earlier.