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Free Content The MIT D-lab electricity-free PortaTherm™ incubator for remote testing with the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube assay

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Use of the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube assay (QFT-GIT) in remote areas is limited by the need to incubate blood samples within 12 h of collection. PortaTherm™ is a portable, electricity-free, phase-change incubator previously used for field collection of microbiological samples.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the PortaTherm can be used for the reliable incubation of QFT-GIT samples, thus enabling QFT-GIT use in settings distant from laboratory facilities.

METHODS: In a prospective comparative study in Peru, blood samples were collected from 50 participants and processed in three parallel QFT-GIT tests per participant; two were incubated in a conventional incubator; the third was incubated in the PortaTherm.

RESULTS: All 150 QFT-GIT tests gave definitive results, and for 46 of the 50 participants all three tests were concordant, eight of which were positive. Four participants had one discordant result: two due to discordance of a conventional incubator QFT-GIT result, and two due to discordant PortaTherm QFT-GIT results.

CONCLUSION: The QFT-GIT inter-incubator variability between the PortaTherm and conventional incubator was no greater than the intra-incubator variability for the conventional incubator, indicating that the PortaTherm is a suitable tool for incubating QFT-GIT whole blood samples in remote settings where access to a laboratory or electricity is limited.

Keywords: PortaTherm; QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube; incubator; inter-assay variability; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru 2: D-Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 3: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru; and Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale–New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

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