Towards a point-of-care test for active tuberculosis: obstacles and opportunities

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Mar;9(3):204-13. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2521.


Limited access to diagnostic services and the poor performance of current tests result in a failure to detect millions of tuberculosis cases each year. An accurate test that could be used at the point of care to allow faster initiation of treatment would decrease death rates and could reduce disease transmission. Previous attempts to develop such a test have failed, and success will require the marriage of biomarkers that are highly predictive for the disease with innovative technology that is reliable and affordable. Here, we review the status of research into point-of-care tests for active tuberculosis and discuss barriers to the development of such diagnostic tests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology