Rapid, accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), a curable disease that killed 1.8 million people in 2015, is critical for ensuring timely treatment and preventing further transmission. An estimated 10.4 million people fell ill with TB in 2015. However, over 4.3 million (40%) of cases were either never diagnosed or not reported to national TB programs, and only one-quarter of the estimated 580,000 people with drug-resistant TB were diagnosed and subsequently enrolled in treatment. (World Health Organization, 2017)
Worldwide, many people do not have easy access to low cost and accurate diagnostic tools that can rapidly detect pulmonary TB. Most countries still rely on smear microscopy, the primary diagnostic test currently used to diagnose TB infection, which lacks the necessary sensitivity needed to detect more cases. Furthermore, significant gaps exist in tools for diagnosing TB in those most at risk of mortality, such as young children and people living with HIV.
PATH’s work in tuberculosis diagnostics
PATH has extensive experience in identifying, assessing, evaluating, and commercializing new diagnostics for TB for use in low-resource settings. PATH worked with Hardy Diagnostics to develop the TB MODS Test Kit™, a rapid, simple, and low-cost tool that diagnoses TB and resistance to first-line antibiotic therapies and could extend the reach of TB diagnostics into lower-level health facilities.
In collaboration with McGill University, PATH has developed a series of annual and semiannual Diagnostics Technology Landscape reports published by UNITAID. These reports describe the status of current, emerging, and potential technologies that may help fill the gap in TB diagnostic tools. Read the latest edition:
UNITAID: Tuberculosis Diagnostics Technology and Market Landscape – 5th Edition
David Boyle, Tuberculosis Diagnostics Portfolio Leader