Health-e (Cape Town)

South Africa: Dr-TB - Urgent Need to Respond to Growing Global Crisis

Results from the largest multi-country implementation of the new rapid tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic test reveal an urgent need to address the growing global crisis of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), according to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The data, presented at the 43rd annual Union World Conference on Lung Health in Kuala Lumpur, was collected from 25 MSF projects in 14 countries over a nearly 18-month period.

New TB test

It shows an overall 50 percent increase in laboratory-based diagnosis of TB using Xpert MTB/RIF compared to the TB test still most commonly used, sputum smear microscopy, with a high variability across projects (increase in lab confirmation ranged from 10 percent to 115 percent).

The Xpert MTB/RIF test, which provides results within two hours, also detects whether a person’s TB strain is resistant to one of the primary TB drugs, rifampicin.

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