WHO announces updates on new TB antigen-based skin tests for the diagnosis of TB infection

12 April 2022

Article: 56/1404

The World Health Organization (WHO) has evaluated tuberculosis antigen-based skin tests (TBST), a new class of tests to diagnose tuberculosis (TB) infection, and found them to be accurate, acceptable, feasible and cost-effective. TBST is an alternative to tuberculin skin test (TST) and Interferon-Gamma Release Assays (IGRAs).

The WHO estimates that over a quarter of the world’s population has TB infection, and testing increases the probability that individuals at higher risk benefit from preventive treatment. TBST use Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex specific antigens and represents a significant advancement to TST.

A guideline development group was convened by WHO from 31 January to 3 February 2022, to discuss the findings of the systematic reviews and to make recommendations on the TBST class of diagnostic tests for TB infection. Three products were included in the evaluation, for which details are available in the rapid communication.

The rapid communication is released in advance of updated WHO guidelines expected later in 2022, to inform national TB programmes and other stakeholders about these new developments and to allow for rapid transition and planning at the country level.

Source: WHO, 4 April 2022