Study finds faster test significantly increases TB and Rifampicin resistance case detection

Delhi, India – 28 May 2015 – Large-scale study results published in PLoS One show that the use of Xpert MTB/RIF as the initial test for tuberculosis (TB) in public health facilities in India significantly increases the number of TB cases detected and notified.

Over 100,000 patients took part in the study in 18 geographically and demographically diverse TB programme sites across India, including eight rural sites and four sites in sparsely populated and hard-to-access tribal areas. Results showed an increase in case notification rates of all bacteriologically confirmed TB by 39% and a five-fold increase in rifampicin (drug)-resistant TB (DR-TB) case notification.

The study, carried out by FIND in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) under the leadership of the Government of India’s Central TB Division, with funding support from USAID, aimed to assess, under routine programme conditions, the impact of Xpert MTB/RIF (a fully-automated and highly sensitive molecular test) for its ability to reduce detection time, replace current smear microscopy test methods and deliver additional data on drug sensitivity.

“The study underscores the potential for the use of Xpert MTB/RIF to revolutionize TB case detection in high-burden, decentralized, low-resource settings,” said Dr. C.N. Paramasivan of FIND. “Current test methods are too complex for routine, widespread implementation in India.”

The present study is also the first large-scale attempt to offer universal drug susceptibility testing (DST) to all suspected TB cases in the public sector in India and demonstrates the potential impact of this strategy to detect DR-TB cases, particularly in countries with high levels of rifampicin resistance.

“With this test, health care providers can diagnose TB within 90 minutes and at the same time determine whether the patient has a form of TB that is resistant to the drug Rifampicin,” said Dr. Paramasivan. “The robust study data can be used to guide decisions in the scale-up of Xpert MTB/RIF.”

The study represents a milestone for TB diagnosis and care in India, the country with the highest TB burden in the world with an estimated 26% of global TB cases.


About FIND
FIND was established in 2003 as an international non-profit whose mission is to accelerate the development, evaluation and delivery of high-quality, affordable diagnostic tests for diseases of poverty, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, sleeping sickness, hepatitis C, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and Buruli ulcer. Over the last decade, FIND has partnered in the delivery of 11 new diagnostic tools and created an enabling environment for countless more through specimen banks, reagent development and better market visibility. FIND has also supported the scale-up of access to new diagnostic through implementation, quality assurance and lab strengthening work. FIND has over 100 partners, including research institutes and laboratories, ministries of health, commercial partners, bilateral and multilateral organizations, especially WHO, and clinical trial sites.

For more information, please contact:
Dr Neeraj Raizada
CBNAAT Project Manager, FIND India
+91 99 5857 4446