WHO Warning Against Inaccurate Blood Tests To Diagnose Tuberculosis

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Present tests provide inaccurate results

A WHO policy recommendation mentioned that the current commercial blood tests available to diagnose active tuberculosis lead to inaccurate results. These may often lead to incorrect treatments and possible hazards to the health of the public. The health organization is advising the countries across the world to ban these incorrect and non-approved serological tests. Moreover, the WHO advises physicians to use the more reliable microbiological and molecular tests to diagnose the disease.

Possibility of incorrect TB diagnosis

Diagnosing TB via antibodies or antigens that are found in the blood can be difficult. Every patient reacts differently to the antibodies responses that may suggest the presence of active tuberculosis even when they may not be suffering from the disease. The antibodies can possibly develop against any other organisms that may be present, which can indicate the presence of active TB providing an incorrect diagnosis. Moreover, distinct organisms may share the similar antigens, which again make the results undependable. All these factors can possibly result in the tuberculosis being identified incorrectly.

Blood test is bad and expensive

Considering the interests of the patients and the caregivers, the WHO recommends discontinuing the use of serological tests to diagnose the TB. Most of the results are inconsistent and unreliable. Moreover, these tests are expensive at $30 per test. There are roughly eighteen such tests that are available, which increase the expense of medical services.

Possible issues due to incorrect diagnosis

After one year of meticulous analysis of 67 patients with pulmonary TB and 27 patients with extra pulmonary TB, the WHO provided these recommendations. The analysis revealed that a large number of these individuals were provided an incorrect recommendation of testing negative for the presence of the disease. This incorrect diagnosis can lead to the disease being transmitted to other individuals or may cause the death of the individual due to non-treatment.

Non-approved tests providing inaccurate results

Most of these blood tests are manufactured in North America and Europe. Moreover, none of these tests has been approved by any regulatory organization. The tests are more common in underdeveloped countries where the legal requirements and controls are lower. The disease is the cause of 1.7 million individuals across the world every year and is common in individuals suffering from HIV. Research to find tests that provide quick and accurate results are underway, which could be effective to save a large number of individuals annually.