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Invited Commentary
October 2018

Molecular Assay Testing to Rule Out Tuberculosis—Be That Early Adopter

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(10):1388-1389. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3628

Tuberculosis (TB) infection is attributed to a slow-growing acid-fast bacilli (AFB), which requires weeks or even months for a culture to show a positive result. Since the resurgence of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB beginning in the mid-1980s, laboratories needed better and faster tools for diagnosis of tuberculosis. In 1991, Eisenach et al1 described the first laboratory-developed nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which allowed results to be available within 48 hours, being very sensitive and specific.1 In 1995, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first commercially available NAAT for tuberculosis. In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the universal use of a NAAT for patients with suspected pulmonary TB and “for whom the test result would alter case management or TB control activities.”2(p7)

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