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Open Access Evaluation of a lateral-flow nanoparticle fluorescence assay for TB infection diagnosis

BACKGROUND: Programmatic management of TB infection is a critical component of the WHO End TB Strategy. Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) overcome some limitations of the tuberculin skin test, but implementation of IGRA testing in low-resource settings is challenging.

METHODS: In this feasibility study, we evaluated performance of a novel digital lateral-flow assay, the QIAreach® QuantiFERON® TB (QIAreach-QFT) test, against the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) assay. A population with a mix of risk factors for TB infection (111 donors) were sampled over multiple days. A total of 207 individual blood samples were tested according to the manufacturer´s instructions.

RESULTS: The overall percentage agreement was 95.6% (two-sided 95% CI 91.8–98), with a positive percentage agreement (i.e., sensitivity) of 100% (95% CI 94.7–100) and a negative percentage agreement (i.e., specificity) of 95.6% (95% CI 90.6–98.4). All QFT-Plus positive specimens with TB1-Nil and TB2-Nil values less than 1 IU/ml tested positive on QIAreach-QFT.

CONCLUSIONS: QIAreach QFT is a deployable, accurate testing solution for decentralised testing. It has the potential to overcome key hurdles for TB infection screening in high-burden settings thus helping to achieve the WHO End TB programme goals.

Keywords: IGRA; QIAreach QFT; QuantiFERON; TB infection; validation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Qiagen Inc, Germantown, MD, USA 2: Qiagen Manchester Ltd, Manchester, UK 3: Former Qiagen employee 4: Ellume Limited, East Brisbane, QLD, Australia 5: Qiagen Manchester Ltd, Manchester, UK, Imperial College, London, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2021

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) is for clinical research and epidemiological studies on lung health, including articles on TB, TB-HIV and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, COPD, child lung health and the hazards of tobacco and air pollution. Individuals and institutes can subscribe to the IJTLD online or in print – simply email us at [email protected] for details.

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