Every year, tens of thousands of people who fall ill with tuberculosis in South Africa are not diagnosed. Because of this, there has been much focus on testing people earlier rather than waiting for them to show up at clinics when they are already sick. One potential solution, explored in a trial called XACT 2, is community-based testing using a point-of-care molecular test. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts involved with XACT 2 and unpacks the study’s findings that were recently published in Nature Medicine.
New tuberculosis infection guidelines released ahead of World TB Day are another important step in the right direction for South Africa’s TB response, argues Spotlight editor Marcus Low, while also warning of the substantial implementation challenges that remain.
Under a new tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis strategy, people considered to be at high risk of TB are offered molecular TB tests, even if they do not have any symptoms. A landmark study in 2020 showed that such a strategy can help diagnose more people more quickly. Now, early indications are that it also works in the real world and South Africa’s lab service says they can cope with the increased demand. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
It is estimated that over 100 000 of the over 300 000 people who fall ill with TB in South Africa every year are not diagnosed. As a result, improving TB screening and testing has become a high priority in South Africa’s TB response. Coinciding with World TB Day 2022, Spotlight editor Marcus Low examines new information shared by the National Department of Health and assesses the state of the country’s TB case-finding efforts.