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Rapid communication: TB antigen-based skin tests for the diagnosis of TB infection

by Public Health Update

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

04 April 2022 | Geneva:  Tuberculosis antigen-based skin tests (TBST), a new class of tests to diagnose TB infection, have been evaluated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are found to be accurate, acceptable, feasible and cost-effective. These tests represent an alternative to tuberculin skin test (TST) and Interferon-Gamma Release Assays (IGRAs).

WHO estimates that over a quarter of the world’s population has TB infection. Testing for TB infection increases the probability that individuals at higher risk benefit from preventive treatment. TBST use Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex specific antigens and represent a significant advancement to TST which has been used for over half a century.

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. The publication is now online on the WHO website at this link.


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