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TB Notes 1, 2002

News Briefs

The interferon gamma assay, a whole-blood test for latent TB infection, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This test is an in vitro assay for cell-mediated immune reactivity to M. tuberculosis. Unlike the tuberculin skin test (TST), this assay requires a single patient visit, assesses response to both M. tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacteria simultaneously, and does not boost amnestic immune responses. It appears that interpretation of the whole-blood interferon gamma assay is less subjective than is the TST, and the test may be affected less by prior BCG vaccination and reactivity to nontuberculous mycobacteria than the TST. The utility of this test in clinical practice remains to be evaluated. (Mazurek GH, LoBue PA, Daley CL, Bernardo J, Lardizabal AA, Bishai WR, Iademarco MF, Rothel JS. Comparison of a whole-blood interferon gamma assay with tuberculin skin testing for detecting latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. JAMA 2001;286:1740-7).

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development has recently purchased rights from Chiron Corporation to a promising new compound, PA-824, which may eventually lead to a more effective, shorter course treatment for TB, especially in developing countries. The drug still needs to undergo rigorous clinical trials and FDA approval.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
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