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A new more effective tuberculosis screening test for HIV victims
Date:3/5/2008

World Health Organization (WHO) figures show that each year an estimated 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) arise in the world. The growth of this disease remains particularly strong in Africa owing to a high proportion of HIV patients (nearly 13% compared with less than 1% in Asian countries for example). This region of the world is experiencing accelerating advance of a deadly combination of AIDS and TB, developed because the virus weakens the immune system of TB-infected individuals. A person infected by HIV who is also contaminated with Kochs bacillus bears a greater risk of developing active TB than a non HIV-infected individual. Latent TB infection diagnosis has for several decades been founded on a positive response to the tuberculin skin test (TST). However, TSTs reliability is limited in highly TB-endemic geographical settings because the presence in the environment of mycobacteria similar to that which causes TB plus the BCG vaccination people receive in early infancy can skew the results. Moreover, in HIV-carrying patients, the sensitivity of the test is drastically reduced owing to their inability to develop an allergic reaction, the very basis of the skin test. TB is a strong contributing factor to HIV mortality, therefore it is of crucial importance to be able to diagnosis latent infection early in order to adopt an appropriate treatment and prevent the development of the full disease.

The development of new IGRA3 tests is based on in vitro measurement of T-cells secretion of interferon- when challenged with antigens specific to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium causing tuberculosis. Such assays now provide a means of getting round the drawbacks of the tuberculin skin test (TST). Yet, although these new screening methods are more effective than TST in a situation of low TB endemicity, their validity in populations subject to high risk of latent TB infection still has to be clearly established. Results recently publis
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Contact: Press Office
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Institut de Recherche Pour le Dveloppement
Source:Eurekalert

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