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FP6

SERO-TB — Result In Brief

Project ID: 37796
Funded under: FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH
Country: Denmark

Improved diagnostic tools for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious health problem worldwide due to problematic diagnosis. European scientists addressed this issue by developing novel diagnostic tests for the early diagnosis of TB.
Improved diagnostic tools for tuberculosis
Existing serological TB tests lack sensitivity and specificity necessitating the development of new tools for detection of the disease. With this in mind, the EU-funded ‘Development of a specific serological kit for the diagnosis of TB’ (SERO-TB) project aimed to develop an affordable and sensitive diagnostic test for TB.

Sequencing of the genomes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) and M. bovis – used in the TB BCG vaccine – allowed identification of genes that are present only in M. tuberculosis. SERO-TB scientists selected 10 antigens which were frequently recognised by both HIV negative and HIV positive TB patients. The aim was to increase the sensitivity and specificity of the assay so that it could be used to detect latent TB.

Four of these antigens showed increased sensitivity and were incorporated in an immunochromatographic test (ICT) optimised for the detection of M. tuberculosis-specific antibodies. Screening of samples from Denmark, Ethiopia and Turkey proved that the test prototype was fast and simple to use.

Although, further development is required for the SERO-TB diagnostic tool to achieve the desired resolving power, project results are promising towards that direction. Such a cost-effective and easy to use test will permit earlier diagnosis of the disease and thereby earlier initiation of treatment, a crucial step in controlling transmission of TB.

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