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New blood test to reliably detect TB in kids

Posted on Sep 01 2014 | IANS

London, Sep 1 : About one million children per year develop tuberculosis (TB) worldwide, but unfortunately detecting TB in children has been a challenge as the symptoms are often non-specific and similar to those of common paediatric illnesses, including pneumonia and malnutrition.

This is now set to change as researchers have developed a new blood test that provides a fast and accurate tool to diagnose tuberculosis in children.

The newly developed test (TAM-TB assay) is the first reliable immuno-diagnostic assay to detect active tuberculosis in children, the researchers said.

"This rapid and reliable test has the great potential to significantly improve the diagnosis of active tuberculosis in children," said Klaus Reither from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Switzerland, who coordinated the study.

The new TAM-TB assay is a sputum-independent blood test.

Using standard intracellular cytokine staining procedures and polychromatic flow cytometry, the test result is available within 24 hours after blood sampling.

The new test was assessed in tuberculosis endemic regions in Tanzania at the Ifakara Health Institute and the NIMR Mbeya Medical Research Center.

The study appeared in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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