Titled "Tuberculosis: clinical diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, and measures for its prevention and control", the NICE recommendations state that screening for latent TB infection - which has no symptoms and is not infectious but has the potential to develop into TB disease at any time will include administering the unlicensed Mantoux tuberculin skin test in the first instance and, if the results are positive, conducting a further blood test (also known as an interferon-gamma immunological test) to confirm the accuracy of the skin test. More importantly the guidelines confirm the use of blood tests as the first line diagnostic for latent TB in all immunosuppressed individuals, whatever the cause. This includes HIV infection as well as any drug induced immunosuppression, which may occur in groups such as transplant and arthritis patients.
Additionally the guidelines indicate that the blood tests have a role to play in the diagnosis of TB disease especially in non-pulmonary TB and as a rule-out test in TB suspects.
The NICE recommendations for TB come just after The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US advised a simple, one-step blood test be used in all circumstances under which the traditional skin test is currently used, as part of its new TB detection guideline.
Oxford Immunotec Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter Wrighton-Smith, said: "We welcome NICE's recognition of blood testing and its important role in the diagnosis of latent TB infection. Blood tests for Mycobacterium tuberculosis offer significant advantages over the tuberculin skin test in terms of accuracy, convenience and reliability and this decision represents a
Contact: Natasha Gifford
Virgo Health PR