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Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Jan 1;44(1):69-73. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Low sensitivity of a whole-blood interferon-gamma release assay for detection of active tuberculosis.

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  • 1International Research and Programs Branch, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


The sensitivity of an interferon-gamma assay (Quantiferon-TB Gold; Cellestis) was evaluated for the detection of tuberculosis among 242 persons with suspected tuberculosis in San Francisco, California. Thirty-seven subjects had culture-confirmed tuberculosis. Excluding 1 indeterminate result, 23 (64%; 95% confidence interval, 48%-78%) of 36 subjects had positive results using the QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay. The 64% sensitivity suggests that the QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay should not be used alone to exclude active tuberculosis.

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