GERMANTOWN, Md. & HILDEN, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today endorsed new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), which coordinates global efforts to control tuberculosis (TB), calling for harmonization of preventive screening and treatment of latent TB infection among vulnerable groups in countries with a high disease burden, as well as in low-burden countries. The guidelines also acknowledge the clinical value of modern blood tests for latent TB infection, including QIAGEN’s QuantiFERON-TB® Gold Plus.
Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection spread primarily through coughing by patients with the active pulmonary form of the disease. In 2016, there were 10.4 million new cases of active TB worldwide and 1.7 million deaths from TB, according to WHO estimates. In latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), the bacterium infects a person but produces no symptoms unless it progresses to active disease. As part of comprehensive programs to eradicate the disease, in recent years the WHO has continued to expand its guidelines for screening high-risk individuals and treating them for LTBI to prevent further contagion.
The new WHO guidelines Latent tuberculosis infection: Updated and consolidated guidelines for programmatic management expand the testing options, the number of groups for testing and treatment options. They remove the prior 2011 recommendation against the use of interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs) in low and middle income countries, where the burden of TB is highest. IGRAs or tuberculin skin test (TST) can now be used for LTBI testing globally. The new guidelines also acknowledge the higher benefit of preventive treatment among persons living with HIV testing positive and the global shortage of TST as a barrier to scaling up LTBI-prevention programs.
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