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Xpert® MTB/RIF assay for pulmonary tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance in adults
Date:1/22/2014

A second systematic review of a diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has confirmed the accuracy of the test. The updated review assessing the accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF includes new studies published since the original Cochrane Review was published in January last year. Led by Karen Steingart, an Editor with the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group at LSTM, the researchers found that Xpert MTB/RIF is more accurate than smear microscopy for diagnosing TB and also accurate for detecting rifampicin resistance. This updated Cochrane Review was one of three WHO reviews commissioned as part of the process to update the policy on the use of Xpert MTB/RIF. The WHO policy is available at http://www.stoptb.org/wg/gli/xpert.asp.

TB causes tremendous suffering worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Around 8.6 million people developed the disease for the first time in 2012 and 1.3 million people died. TB can be cured if the disease is diagnosed and properly treated. Being able to detect TB and TB drug resistance is vital for improving health, reducing deaths and decreasing the spread of TB.

Xpert MTB/RIF is a new test that quickly detects TB and resistance to rifampicin, one of the major drugs for treating the disease. Xpert MTB/RIF is automated and can detect TB bacteria at low concentrations. In addition, the test does not require expert staff or an advanced laboratory. In contrast, smear microscopy, the most frequently used test for TB detection in resource-constrained settings requires TB bacteria to be present at high concentrations (thousands of bacteria) and does not diagnose drug resistance. Instead TB would have to be grown in a laboratory, which requires time and expert staff.

This updated review, involving around 9500 people, analysed data from an additional nine studies alongside the 18
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Contact: Clare Bebb
c.bebb@liv.ac.uk
44-015-170-53135
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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