Qiagen has launched its QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube, a blood test for use as an aid in diagnosing Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (both latent tuberculosis infection and active tuberculosis disease), in China.

QuantiFERON-TB measures the body’s cell-mediated immune response to a cocktail of TB-specific antigens. It is the leading modern test for accurate diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infections.

The test is more precise and easier-to-handle modern alternative when compared to tuberculin skin test (TST or Mantoux).

It can reduce false-positive readings caused by the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination. The TST is notoriously inaccurate in BCG-vaccinated persons because of cross-reacting antigens that commonly cause false positive results.

The company claims that the QuantiFERON-TB is the industry-leading IGRA, a modern breakthrough blood test that is faster, more accurate and cost-effective than older methods.

Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz noted the use of QuantiFERON-TB to screen vulnerable populations is growing rapidly in the US, Europe and other markets, and the company is focusing on this important product as one of its global growth drivers.

"The superiority of QIAGEN’s QuantiFERON technology to deliver more reliable results than the 120-year-old tuberculin skin test already is well accepted among physicians in China, paving the way for the entry of QuantiFERON-TB into this important market," Schatz added.

Qiagen is already marketing the QuantiFERON-TB in the US and European markets. Earlier in 2014, QuantiFERON-TB has obtained the Chinese Food and Drug Administration approval.

The company will launch the QuantiFERON-TB on 24 March 2014 to coincide with World TB Day 2014.

According to Qiagen, the company advocates for the ethical usage of QuantiFERON-TB and will target its screening efforts to vulnerable subpopulations including immuno-compromised patients such as those with HIV or diabetes, as well as people with weaker immune systems such as children, the elderly, malnourished, heavy smokers and drug abusers, who have a much higher chance of progressing from latent infection to active TB.