Researchers have developed a new diagnostic tool which allows sensitive and highly specific identification of patients with active TB disease.

To develop the assay, researchers identified functional signatures of immune responses (cytokines involved such as TNF-α, IL-2 and IFN-γ), which were correlated to different stages of tuberculosis disease.

As the flow cytometry-based assay is based on immune response and not on microbiological parameters, it is reliable and quick.

Currently, the assay requires specific equipment and skillful laboratory personnel to use it, and researchers are developing the assay to make it more accessible.

The research programme was supported by the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the Swiss Vaccine Research Institute.