Point of care diagnostics for tuberculosis

Pulmonology. 2018 Mar-Apr;24(2):73-85. doi: 10.1016/j.rppnen.2017.12.002. Epub 2018 Feb 14.


The goals of the End TB strategy, which aims to achieve a 90% reduction in tuberculosis (TB) incidence and a 95% reduction in TB mortality by 2035, will not be achieved without new tools to fight TB. These include improved point of care (POC) diagnostic tests that are meant to be delivered at the most decentralised levels of care where the patients make the initial contact with the health system, as well as within the community. These tests should be able to be performed on an easily accessible sample and provide results in a timely manner, allowing a quick treatment turnaround time of a few minutes or hours (in a single clinical encounter), hence avoiding patient loss-to-follow-up. There have been exciting developments in recent years, including the WHO endorsement of Xpert MTB/RIF, Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (TB-LAMP) and lateral flow lipoarabinomannan (LAM). However, these tests have limitations that must be overcome before they can be optimally applied at the POC. Furthermore, worrying short- to medium-term gaps exist in the POC diagnostic test development pipeline. Thus, not only is better implementation of existing tools and algorithms needed, but new research is required to develop new POC tests that allow the TB community to truly make an impact and find the "missed TB cases".

Keywords: Diagnosis; LAM; NAATs; Point-of-care; Target product profile; Tuberculosis; Xpert.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*