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Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2010 May;16(3):271-84. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e328338094f.

New and improved tuberculosis diagnostics: evidence, policy, practice, and impact.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.



The aim is to summarize the evidence base for tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics, review recent policies on TB diagnostics, and discuss issues such as how evidence is translated into policy, limitations of the existing evidence base, and challenges involved in translating policies into impact.


Case detection continues to be a major obstacle to global TB control. Fortunately, due to an unprecedented level of interest, funding, and activity, the new diagnostics pipeline for TB has rapidly expanded. There have been several new policies and guidelines on TB diagnostics. However, there are major gaps in the existing pipeline (e.g. lack of a point-of-care test) and the evidence base is predominantly made up of research studies of test accuracy.


With the availability of new diagnostics and supporting policies, the next major step is translation of policy into practice. The impact of new tests will depend largely on the extent of their introduction and acceptance into the global public sector. This will itself depend in part on policy decisions by international technical agencies and national TB programs. With the engagement of all key stakeholders, we will need to translate evidence-based policies into epidemiological and public health impact.

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