GeneXpert MTB/RIF: Recommended Test for Tuberculosis Diagnosis
- March 22,2022
- 2 Min Read
Tuberculosis is a major public health concern in India, and it is still one of the world's deadliest infectious killers. Every year 24th March is commemorated as World Tuberculosis Day. It aims to raise awareness, provide an opportunity to mobilise political and social commitment for the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
This year’s theme for World TB Day is - ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’ - manifesting the urgent need to invest resources in stepping up the fight against tuberculosis and uphold global leaders' commitments to end tuberculosis.
Although curable, tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a dangerous bacterium viz. Mycobacterium. It is a deadly disease that spreads through the air; typically attacks the lungs and can attack other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020.
As per the Annual TB Report 2020 by the National Tuberculosis Elimination Program, India has the highest TB burden in the world. UP, Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, and Bihar alone contribute more than 50% of the cases in India.
People with a weakened immune system are more likely to develop active tuberculosis. Hence, accurate and timely health check-ups are the key to an early diagnosis, effective treatment and management of the disease. You are at risk if:
- If you smoke
- If you have HIV infection
- If you have low body weight
- If you have severe kidney disease
- If you have diabetes
GeneXpert MTB/RIF & GeneXpert Ultra MTB/RIF assays are approved and widely recommended tests for the diagnosis of TB by the World Health Organization (WHO) globally. GeneXpert MTB/RIF & Genexpert Ultra MTB/RIF are automated technologies that rapidly detect TB, resistance to rifampicin (a 1st line drug used to treat TB), within 2-3 hours, and is superior to standard cultures that can take up to 2-6 weeks. It improves time to diagnosis, and enhances patient treatment and management. It can also detect multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) which makes it easier to start the correct treatment early instead of waiting for the results of multiple susceptibility tests. GeneXpert Ultra MTB/RIF is a more sensitive test as compared to GeneXpert MTB/RIF, however the process and interpretation of the results remains identical.
For more information on how to interpret GeneXpert MTB/RIF results, please refer to this.
This is a revolutionary technology that is a great step forward in saving lives. Let’s do our bit and spread awareness, encourage people with symptoms to get tested, and encourage them to finish their medication course if screened for TB. Come together and fight to #EndTB.