PATH scientist: new tools can better detect tuberculosis

October 29, 2015 by PATH

Report calls for faster validation

Last week, UNITAID released its Tuberculosis Diagnostics Technology and Market Landscape report, co-authored by PATH scientist Dr. David Boyle, who oversees the PATH Diagnostics Program Tuberculosis (TB) Portfolio. The report, now in its fourth edition, reviews current and potential technologies and critical market challenges to improved access to better TB diagnostics.

Rapid, accurate diagnosis of TB, a disease that killed 1.5 million people in 2013, is critical for ensuring timely treatment and preventing further spread of the disease within communities. In 2013, nearly 1 in 3 people who fell ill with TB were either never diagnosed or their case was not reported to their national TB program, according to World Health Organization data — in other words, their cases were "missed."

Part of the reason for this is that many people do not have easy access to diagnostic tools that can rapidly and accurately detect pulmonary TB. The new report states that more than 50 companies are marketing or actively developing new products to diagnose TB, but most countries still rely on microscopy-based methods that lack the necessary sensitivity needed to detect more cases.

The report was a joint effort between Dr. Boyle and Dr. Madhukar Pai from McGill University, Montreal, with technical input from the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND, Geneva) and UNITAID. Funding for this project was provided by UNITAID.

The PATH Diagnostics Program uses its technical and market experience for several landscape reports every year. For more information about PATH's tuberculosis portfolio or the Global Diagnostics Program in general, please contact

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